Influences on the knowledge and beliefs of ordinary people about developmental hierarchies

Georgina Binstock, Centro de Estudios de Población (CENEP) y CONICET, Argentina
Arland Thornton, University of Michigan
Mohammad J. Abbasi-Shavazi, University of Tehran and Australian National University
Dirgha J. Ghimire, University of Michigan
Yu Xie, University of Michigan
Kathryn M. Yount, Emory University

This paper is motivated by the idea that development and developmental hierarchies have been constructed and embraced for centuries by scholars and policy makers. Recent research also demonstrates that the construct of development and developmental hierarchies has been disseminated widely among ordinary people, with the views of many ordinary people about developmental hierarchies being consistent with elites at international organizations, such as the United Nations. In this paper, we extend this research by examining how gender, age, and education influence ordinary people’s beliefs about development and developmental hierarchies in six countries: Argentina, China, Egypt, Iran, Nepal, and the United States. We found that a large proportion of individuals in each of the countries are able to rate countries on development and that these ratings correspond highly with the UN Human Development Index scores. Univariate and multivariate analyses indicate men and more educated individuals, as compared to their counterparts, have views of developmental hierarchies that are closer to the UN evaluations. The magnitude of these differences varies across countries. In those societies in which women have a lower status relative to men, and countries where a substantial fraction of people does not complete or surpass elementary school, the magnitude of these differences across groups is higher. The association of age with developmental thinking is inconsistent across the countries, which may be interpreted as age cohorts having differential exposure to developmental ideas across settings.

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Presented in Poster Session 3

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