Aiysha Varraich is a Research Fellow at Global Integrity’s Anti-Corruption Evidence (ACE) programme. She is also currently a PhD candidate at the Quality of Government Institute and the Political Science department of the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.


Her dissertation explores how religious clientelism affects vote choice in the context of developing countries, furthering the understanding of client-voters’ decision-making processes, through the voters’ perceptions. My work advances a theory of religious clientelism, a sub-type of clientelism, arguing that when patron and client share religion as a social identity, the type of exchange preferred and prioritized by client-voters will be non-material goods, such as salvation. This recasts clientelism from a material exchange to including non-material exchanges; broadening the concept to allow for religious/spiritual incentives as part of the clients’ rationale in casting their vote.  


She has spent a large portion of her research conducting fieldwork (participant observation and interviews), both as part of her dissertation and prior to embarking her PhD. Her research interests lie at the intersection of political behavior, corruption, religion and trust in developing countries and qualitative methods (interviews in particular).  


Aiysha was part of the core organizing committee of the 3 rd Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Forum in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2018 and held an introductory lecture on how to use interviewing as a tool to researching corruption at the first ICRN Forum in Amsterdam. The summary of the primer lecture can be found here (Conference Proceedings).