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Islam's Political Disadvantage: Corruption and Religiosity in Quetta, Pakistan

  • Michael Kalin (a1) and Niloufer Siddiqui (a1)


Religion is often seen as important to voting behavior, particularly in the Islamic world, where personal piety may serve as an informational shortcut to voters otherwise unclear about candidate quality. But how do voters react when nominally pious candidates are alleged to be corrupt? Are pious candidates evaluated differently according to their sectarian affiliations? To investigate the impact of candidate piety and sectarian identity on voter choice, we conducted a survey experiment in Quetta, Balochistan, a region of Pakistan, which has experienced high levels of Sunni-Shia violence. Our results suggest that voters are significantly more punitive of corrupt behavior committed by candidates from sectarian out-groups than those belonging to their religious in-group. Further, we demonstrate that respondents react negatively to information about candidate religiosity, and uncover the existence of a “hypocrisy effect” whereby voters disproportionately punish corrupt candidates purporting to be pious compared to candidates who make no such claims.


Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Michael Kalin, Department of Political Science, Yale University, Rosenkranz Hall, 115 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT 06520, E-mail:; or to Niloufer Siddiqui, Department of Political Science, Yale University, Rosenkranz Hall, 115 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT 06520. E-mail:


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Islam's Political Disadvantage: Corruption and Religiosity in Quetta, Pakistan

  • Michael Kalin (a1) and Niloufer Siddiqui (a1)


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