Caste and Choice: The Influence of Developmental Idealism on Marriage Behavior
Allendorf, Keera, and Arland Thornton. 2015. “Caste and Choice: The Influence of Developmental Idealism on Marriage Behavior.” American Journal of Sociology 121(1):243-87.
Is young people’s marriage behavior determined by their socioeconomic characteristics or their endorsement of developmental idealism? This article addresses this question using a unique, longitudinal data set from Nepal and provides the first individual-level test of developmental idealism theory. We find that unmarried individuals with greater endorsement of developmental idealism in 2008 were more likely by 2012 to choose their own spouse, including a spouse of a different caste, rather than have an arranged marriage. Those with salaried work experience were also less likely to have arranged marriages, but urban proximity and education were not significant. We conclude that both developmental idealism and socioeconomic characteristics influence marriage and their influences are largely independent.