William & Mary

Poverty and Divine Rewards: The Electoral Advantage of Islamist Political Parties

What explains the success of Islamist political parties in Muslim-majority countries? Sharan Grewal, government professor and visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, sets out to answer that question in a paper just published in the American Journal of Political Science.

In “Poverty and Divine Rewards: The Electoral Advantage of Islamist Political Parties,” Grewal and his co-authors hypothesized a connection between economic hardship and support for Islamist parties.

In June 2016 and January 2017, the four of them conducted field experiments in Tunis, Tunisia and found that there was indeed a causal link between the two factors they identified. That causality was founded in the expectation of divine compensation for voting for parties that promote the application of Islamic law.

You can read the full paper here and can reach out to Professor Grewal with any questions or comments.