Measuring Electoral Competitiveness: With Application to the Indian States

43 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2018

See all articles by Bharatee Bhusana Dash

Bharatee Bhusana Dash

National Institute of Public Finance and Policy

J Stephen Ferris

Carleton University

Stanley L. Winer

Carleton University - School of Public Policy and Administration; Carleton University - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Date Written: 2018

Abstract

We consider alternative methods of measuring the competitiveness of a majoritarian electoral system in the context of an analysis of Indian State elections. Our analysis highlights a number of weaknesses in the construction and interpretation of commonly used measures such as the effective number of parties, the first versus second place vote margin and safe seats, while presenting these and their proposed alternatives for 14 major Indian states from 1952 to 2009. The alternative indexes we present are based in part on ideas that are longstanding in the literature but have not been fully adopted within the Indian context. These indexes incorporate vote volatility, allow for multi-party competition at the constituency level, and adjust for asymmetry among parties of safe seats in the legislature. We argue that these newly computed indexes capture distinct but related dimensions of electoral competition better than do the extant commonly used measures. The analysis of these indexes is then extended to consider the role of caste, class, regionalism and level of development to reveal interesting patterns of commonality and difference in electoral competition across the states.

Keywords: electoral competition, effective number of parties and Tpartyness, volatility adjusted vote margins, asymmetry adjusted safe seats, Indian states, caste and class

JEL Classification: A120, D020, D720, O100

Suggested Citation

Dash, Bharatee Bhusana and Ferris, J Stephen and Winer, Stanley L., Measuring Electoral Competitiveness: With Application to the Indian States (2018). CESifo Working Paper No. 7216, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3275389

Bharatee Bhusana Dash

National Institute of Public Finance and Policy ( email )

18/2, Satsang Vihar Marg
New Delhi, 110067
India

J Stephen Ferris (Contact Author)

Carleton University ( email )

1125 colonel By Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1S 5B6
Canada

Stanley L. Winer

Carleton University - School of Public Policy and Administration ( email )

1125 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1S 5B6
Canada
613-520-2600 x2630 (Phone)
613-520-2551 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.carleton.ca/winer

Carleton University - Department of Economics ( email )

1125 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1S 5B6
Canada
613-520-2600 ex.2630 (Phone)
613-520-2551 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.carleton.ca/winer

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
24
Abstract Views
209
PlumX Metrics