April 24, 2019 Print

On March 27, the Lithuanian Free Market Institute (LFMI) conducted its second National Economics Exam, which seeks to encourage economic literacy and education while giving people a chance to test their knowledge. Through this test, LFMI anticipates that more people will deepen their economic understanding and appreciation of common sense economic solutions.

“If we are not aware of fundamental economic principles, we will never be able to understand what advantages the free market offers,” explained LFMI’s director of development and programs, Aneta Vaine. The test consisted of three categories, and the testers were given 30 multiple choice questions and a free response question on the basic principles of economics, personal finance, entrepreneurship, and economic policy.

To date, nearly 8,000 of the 12,000 people registered have completed the exam, including people from the United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland, Singapore, the United States, Australia, and Switzerland. As of now, only 17 people have achieved a perfect score, compared with 66 in 2018.

“The exam questions were very diverse,” Vaine continued. “For example, (some questions were about) James Bond and Lord of the Rings movies or historical events—when burning money for heat was more beneficial than burning wood. When we look for an answer, we must think about the free market and what happens when its principles are undermined.”

Of all the various sections, participants struggled the most with questions about relative poverty.

“Only one in five answered correctly when asked about the effects of reducing income on the number of people living in poverty,” noted LFMI’s development associate Modestas Talačka. “But as many as 86 percent had no trouble answering a question about currencies that circulated in Lithuania in the 21st century.”

Economics is often viewed as a complex science dealing with crunching numbers—but the head of LFMI’s Education Center, Marija Vysniauskaite, believes that showing economics from an alternative perspective can reignite excitement for the field. LFMI hopes that the study of economics can build support for sound and logical economic policies in the future.

Students who received the highest scores, and schools with the most active teachers, will be invited to an award ceremony in the Ministry of Education, Science, and Sports, where they will be awarded a monetary prize and additional economics literature. Winners of the exam will be chosen by a panel of experts with successful academic and economic backgrounds.