Dual Problem of FPTP Electoral Systems: Evidence from the Indian States



Democracy across the world has witnessed the evolution of the electoral system. First-Past-The-Post (FPTP), practiced in India has certain disadvantages in terms of disproportionate representation. This paper aims to construct the Gallagher Index, Gini Coefficient, and Generalized Entropy Index to measure and analyse the political concentration and inefficiency that characterise such disproportionate representation. The Gallagher Index measures the disproportionality between seat share and vote share; as it captures the disproportionality between votes received and seats won in the house. This can be viewed as a measure of inefficiency in representing the population, inasmuch as parties with a low vote share can have a high seat share. In other words, even though voters are not preferring the particular party or set of parties, these parties can still get enough seats to govern the particular state. Further, this paper tries to build the association between inefficient representation and concentration of power. We show that the high level of inefficiency in representation observed in the Indian State Assemblies is associated with the concentration of power at the state government level. We suggest that since FPTP in Indian democracy is associated with the dual problems of inefficiency and concentration, alternatives to FPTP should be considered.


Inefficient Representation, Gallagher Index, Generalised Entropy Index, Concentration of Power

Author Bio

Vivek Jadhav, Madras School of Economics

Vivek Jadhav is pursuing a Ph.D. in Economics from Madras School of Economics, Chennai