Popular Attitudes Towards Free Markets: The Soviet Union and the United States Compared

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Discussion Paper

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Random samples of the Moscow and New York populations were compared in their attitudes towards free markets by administering identical telephone interviews in the two countries in May, 1990. Although the Soviet respondents were somewhat less likely to accept exchange of money as a solution to personal problems, and their attitudes towards business were less warm, we found that the Soviet and American respondents were basically similar in most dimensions. Soviets showed no difference from Americans in their feelings that price increases may be unfair. There appears to be little difference between the Soviets and Americans in their concern with income inequality, in their belief in the importance of providing material incentives for hard work, and in their understanding of the workings of markets.

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