Outcome of FPTP in a Diversified Society

Evidence on Disproportionality from Lok Sabha Constituencies





Democracy across the world has witnessed the evolution of the electoral system. The First-past-the-post (FPTP) system practiced in India has certain disadvantages, such as disproportional representation. This paper analyses the election outcome in FPTP electoral system in a diverse society like India using constituency-level information for the Lok Sabha election. I examine how social diversity, religious diversity, and fractionalization affect the outcome in the FPTP system. The fractionalization index for religious diversity, polarization index for religious polarization, and Herfindahl–Hirschman Index for vote concentration are formed for Lok Sabha constituencies to understand the impact of diversity on vote concentration as well as vote share of winning candidates. Further regression analysis is done where state-specific and time-specific effects are controlled. It is found that fractionalization i.e. religious diversity affects the vote concentration negatively. It is also found that on average the vote concentration for SC/ST reserved constituencies is lower than general constituencies. This suggests that religious diversity reduces the vote concentration which further leads to disproportionality. It is important to think of ways to provide the space for the parties which are getting votes but not getting seats in Lok Sabha, especially for reserved constituencies.


Religious polarisation, Electoral System, Religious Fractionalisation, Vote Concentration

Author Bio

Vivek Jadhav, Madras School of Economics

The author is pursuing Ph.D. in Economics from Madras School of Economics.


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