• Teaching Economics to Russian Students: Some Preliminary Observations

      Knapp, Gunnar (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1993)
      In February 1993, I taught a one-week intensive course in "Fundamentals of Market Economics" to thirty-four first and second-year students at Magadan International Pedagogical University in Magadan, Russia. The students, who were enrolled in a new degree program in "Economics and Management," had had only limited previous exposure to the topics usually covered in introductory economics courses in America. My preliminary conclusion from this brief experience in teaching economics to Russian students is that basic principles of economic theory can be taught to Russian students in much the same way as they are taught to American students. Russian students were very interested in concepts of market economics, and seemed able to learn and apply them no less well than American students. Their attitudes towards market mechanisms appear to be generally positive, if slightly less so than for American students. However, their experience with market economics is much more limited than that of American students, at both the macroeconomic and microeconomic levels. In particular, it is difficult to teach about fiscal and monetary policy and institutions to students in a country where both policy and institutions are highly unstable or nonexistent. Nevertheless, Russian students are able to recognize the market forces which are increasingly becoming part of Russian life. Asked to suggest a new product or service which had come into existence in Russia as a result of market signals, one student answered: "Now you can telephone for home delivery of vodka."