Developmental Idealism and Beliefs About Marriage and Fertility in Turkey

  • Serap Kavas
  • Arland Thornton
Original Research


Developmental idealism (DI) contains a set of beliefs endorsing development, low fertility, and late marriage and causal connections between development, fertility, and marriage. In this paper, we investigate to what extent DI beliefs about connections of economic development with marriage and childbearing are widespread in Turkey. We also compare the views of people concerning these linkages generally with their views of the linkages in their own country. We also investigate whether such factors as regional location, ethnicity, secularism, education, gender, age, marital status, and number of children influence the acceptance of DI beliefs concerning marriage and fertility in Turkey. We present new data from a national survey of urban Turks conducted in 2014. Our analyses reveal substantial evidence that the ideas of DI have been circulated widely among ordinary people in Turkey. Our results also indicate that Turkish people make little distinction between DI as it relates to their own country and DI as it relates to more general or abstract considerations. Moreover, our analyses suggest that region of residence, age, education, gender, marital status, and fertility were related in substantial and statistically significant ways to DI beliefs. However, for such factors as education, gender, marital status, and fertility, we found that the estimated effects were in a different direction from our theoretical predictions. We argue that these findings are important contributions to DI research and that our study raises significant new questions that deserve further research.


Fertility Marriage Developmental idealism Turkey 



This study was supported by a grant from the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK), (SOBAG 3501, Grant #113K073). We appreciate the staff including the interviewers and supervisors of research firm, Frekans, in Istanbul, for their work in the collection and processing of the data. We thank Hüseyin Kavas and Eban Arıkan for their input into the data analysis. We thank the Turkish respondents who provided the data for this research. Finally, we would like to thank the anonymous reviewers at Population Research and Policy Review (PRPR) for their comments and critique.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Serap Kavas
    • 1
  • Arland Thornton
    • 2
  1. 1.IstanbulTurkey
  2. 2.Department of Sociology, Institute for Social ResearchThe University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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