The goal of this study is to test whether outreach with religious leaders in Pakistan can enhance state effectiveness at dealing with the COVID-19 public health crisis. State interactions with religious leaders present both a challenge and an opportunity: there has been lack of clarity on the official stance on whether and how congregational prayer is restricted as part of ongoing lockdowns. Many mosques in Pakistan continue to hold congregational prayer, and there have been some clashes between the state and mosques over this issue. Effective outreach to the clergy at the community level may help to address this challenge. The research team will conduct information treatment calls with a randomized sub-sample of imams to test secular and religious approaches to persuading community imams to carry out social distancing within their mosques.
Funding for this project was provided by the UK Department for International Development, awarded through IPA's Peace & Recovery Program.