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Reading Comprehension: Main Idea Questions

The author of the passage is mainly concerned with



This answer choice is too narrow. It does not include the information in the third paragraph, which shows that the behavior of Russian peasants can be explained by economic considerations.

Very good!


The author begins with a description of neoclassical economics, moving to two different explanations of a phenomenon that defy this theory: Chayanov's, which claims that the peasants' behavior goes beyond the scope of what can be explained by neoclassical economics, and the agrarian historians' view, according to which the Russian peasants DID use economical decision making, albeit peculiar to their own unique position.

Thus, The two explanations to irrational behavior mentioned in the correct answer choice are not the two explanations offered by Chayanov in the second paragraph. Chayanov, with his two explanations, represents but ONE viewpoint in the passage: that neoclassical economics had nothing to do with the peasant's seemingly irrational choices.

The author indicates his agreement with the latter view (that the peasants did include economical needs in their considerations) by saying that the agrarian historians convincingly argued their case.



While both Chayanov's and 1970s agrarian historians' explanations refute the assumptions of neoclassical economic theory, the passage does not tell us whether this theory is the mainstream of economic thought. Furthermore, we know that the second explanation does adhere to the rules of general economics.



This answer choice is too narrow, as it only addresses the information given in the third paragraph.



This answer choice, while broadly correct, is not the best answer choice available. The second and third paragraphs do more than present the explanations of Russian peasant behavior in the 19th century, as the third paragraph also includes the author's beliefs regarding to which of the theories he or she adheres, by presenting their solution as convincingly argued.

explaining the conceptual framework behind neoclassical economics and using Russian peasants' behavior in the 19th century to prove that economic considerations are not the only motivating power behind human behavior
exploring two explanations for the divergence of Russian peasants' behavior in the 19th century from neoclassical economic theory and indicating his or her agreement with one of those explanations
comparing the explanations of Chayanov and 1970s agrarian historians for Russian peasants' behavior in the 19th century and showing how both these explanations challenge the assumptions of mainstream economical science
questioning the legitimacy of neoclassical economic theory while upholding the assumptions of general economics by arguing for the theories set by agrarian historians in the 1970s of Russian peasant behavior in the 19th century
detailing neoclassical economic theory and presenting two possible explanations that have been given for Russian peasant behavior in the 19th century that contradicts its assumptions