Pradeep Chhibber, Francesca
Refsum Jensenius, and Pavithra Suryanarayan, "Party
organization and party proliferation in India," Party
Politics, 20 (July, 2014), 489-505. [Available at
Since the publication of Making Votes Count (Cox, 1997) it
is widely accepted that social cleavages, political
institutions or the interaction of cleavages and
institutions jointly influence the nature of a party system
(usually understood as the effective number of parties). An
analysis of the party systems across Indian states reveals
that there is considerable variation in the effective number
of parties, both across states and within states over time,
and that this variation cannot be accounted for by social
cleavages or political institutions alone.
- Figures and
- Figure 1. Average effective number of parties in 15
Indian states 1967-2004.
- Figure 2. Variation in effective number of parties in
15 Indian States 1967-2004.
- Figure 3. Number of parties, effective number of
parties, number of organized parties and proportion of
- Figure 4. Party organization and proposed dependent
variables in 15 Indian states 1967-2004.
- Table 1. OLS models of the proportion more organized
parties on the effective number of parties.
- Figure 5. Examples of the social base of parties in
- Table 2. OLS models of the proportion of more
organized parties on electoral volatility.
- Table 3. GEE models of the proportion of organized
parties on electoral volatility, allowing for dependence
among the observations in the same state.
- Appendix A. GEE models of the proportion of organized
parties on the effective number of parties, allowing for
dependence among the observations in the same state.
- Appendix B. Party organization coding.
(First paragraph of conclusion) The main claim presented in
this article is that the organizational structure of parties
can have a large and independent impact on the effective
number of parties, since it alters the incentive structure
for politicians to stay within a party, to defect to another
party, or to form a new party. Assuming that politicians
wish to climb the career ladder to get access to power and
resources associated with holding office, the career
opportunities of politicians in a party determine whether or
not they stay loyal to a party. When parties are less
organized, politicians are more likely to defect. This will
lead to increased electoral volatility, as voters often
follow politicians to other parties. However, politicians
being more likely to leave their party does not necessarily
lead to a higher effective number of parties. If the other
parties in the party system are less organized, a politician
with a following often has the opportunity to enter other
parties laterally. When other parties are more organized
this becomes harder. Thus, we expected to find that the most
fragmented party systems are mixed systems.