Duverger's Law and the Size Of the Indian Party Sytem

Diwakar, Rekha. 2007. Duverger's Law and the Size Of the Indian Party Sytem. Party Politics, 13, pp. 539-561. [Article]

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Duverger's law postulates that single-member plurality electoral systems lead to two-party systems. Existing scholarship regards India as an exception to this law at national level, but not at district level. This study tests the latter hypothesis through analysis of a comprehensive dataset covering Indian parliamentary elections in the period 1952—2004. The results show that a large number of Indian districts do not conform to the Duvergerian norm of two-party competition, and that there is no consistent movement towards the Duvergerian equilibrium. Furthermore, inter-region and inter-state variations in the size of district-level party systems make it difficult to generalize about the application of Duverger's law to the Indian case. The study concludes that a narrow focus on electoral rules is inadequate, and that a more comprehensive set of explanatory variables is needed to explain the size of the Indian party system even at the district level.

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September 2007Published

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30 Dec 2011 10:48

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29 Apr 2020 15:31

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