Dissertation

My dissertation, Religious Cycles of Political Accountability: How Religious Seasons Shape Public Opinion and Government Responsiveness in the Muslim World, specifies the conditions under which Islamic religious norms can enhance governance and service-delivery in Muslim majority countries. The project focuses on the role of the religious season of Ramadan in shaping public opinion and introducing structural changes into economic policy-making in Muslim countries. The core argument of the project is: (1) the salience of charitable norms in Ramadan directs citizens’ attention towards existing economic disparities and reduces their support for incumbents who fail to deliver egalitarian economic outcomes, and (2) these changes provide incentivizes for incumbents to express more responsiveness to citizens’ economic concerns in Ramadan and expand their support for low-income groups during the season. Therefore, Ramadan acts as a regulator of government responsiveness and political accountability in Muslim majority countries. The project integrates quantitative and qualitative research methods to test these theoretical claims using a combination of large-N analyses and in-depth case-studies.