Do people believe modern families and modern societies are causally related?

Colter Mitchell, Princeton University

This paper documents the extent to which the complex idea of modernization and development has cemented itself in the minds of ordinary people as a model of how the world works. I do this in three ways. The first is to document the extent to which people expect certain family types (late marriage, polygamy, small families, etc) to be in certain society types (developed, poor, educated, etc), and the extent to which people believe family change and societal change is causally connected. The second is to explore how respondents understand the relationships between different descriptors of society types (developed, educated, wealthy, etc). The third is to examine the association between the causal models and developmental thinking. I use data from a 2003 survey study of people in the Chitwan Valley of Nepal. I employ Multi-trait multi-method structural equation models to examine these issues.

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Presented in Session 19: Cultures of Family Formation and Development across Time and Space