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Popular Attitudes towards Markets and Democracy:
Russia and United States Compared 25 Years Later

Maxim Boycko, Robert J. Shiller

NBER Working Paper No. 22027
Issued in February 2016
NBER Program(s):   EFG   POL

We repeat a survey we did in the waning days of the Soviet Union (Shiller, Boycko and Korobov, AER 1991) comparing attitudes towards free markets between Moscow and New York. Additional survey questions, from Gibson Duch and Tedin (J. Politics 1992) are added to compare attitudes towards democracy. Two comparisons are made: between countries, and through time, to explore the existence of international differences in allegiance to democratic free-market institutions, and the stability of these differences. While we find some differences in attitudes towards markets across countries and through time, we do not find most of the differences large or significant. Our evidence does not support a common view that the Russian personality is fundamentally illiberal or non-democratic.

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