The making of family values: developmental idealism in Gansu, China

This paper examines the role of developmental thinking in the making of family values. We analyze survey data collected from Gansu Province in China with regular and multilevel logit models. The results show that individuals' endorsement of neolocal residence, self-choice marriage, gender egalitarianism, late marriage for women, and low fertility depends on the conjunction of preference for development and beliefs in its association with those family attributes, which we term developmental idealism associational evaluation. Furthermore, such impact of developmental thinking on family values holds robust in the presence of indigenous ideational forces, in this case Islamic religion. Although Islam influences family values in the opposite direction than developmental ideas do, the effect of Developmental Idealism associational evaluation does not differ significantly between Muslims and non-Muslims.