Student Attitudes Toward Markets: Comparative Survey Data from China, the United States and Russia

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 1995


Economics | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Survey data are used to compare Chinese undergraduates' attitudes toward markets with those of American and Russian undergraduates. Some similarities were found between Chinese and American students' attitudes, particularly a shared interest in material gain and belief in the importance of material incentives. There were also significant differences: Chinese students were less comfortable with market outcomes and more willing to support government intervention in markets than Americans were, and expressed more doubts about the character of business people than did their American peers. In a comparison with Russian undergraduates, Chinese students were less concerned about the fairness of market outcomes, but they were also more supportive of government intervention in the market. Russian students were more interested in material gain and more supportive of business than their Chinese peers. These results suggest that recent differences between China and Russia's economic performance are not simply explained by differences in citizens' attitudes toward markets or reform.