We investigate the measurement of three distinct, but related dimensions of electoral competition in a majoritarian electoral system: contestability in the struggle for governing power; competition among candidates at the constituency level; and competition among existing parties at the level of the legislature. At each step, the analysis is made concrete by calculating our preferred indexes of these dimensions of competitiveness for 14 major Indian states from 1972 to 2009 (and from 1952 in some cases), while comparing them to others that have been widely used, though not always calculated for Indian states. We also use our preferred indexes to study the importance of the level of development for an understanding of how competition has evolved across the states. The paper concludes by posing questions about the measurement of competitiveness, in general and in the Indian case, that arise in the course of our investigation.

Asymmetry adjusted safe seats, BIMAROU decomposition, Effective number of parties and T-partyness, Electoral competitiveness, Indian states, Volatility adjusted vote margins
Electoral Studies
Department of Economics

Dash, B.B. (Bharatee Bhusana), Ferris, J.S, & Winer, S. (2019). The measurement of electoral competition, with application to Indian states. Electoral Studies, 62. doi:10.1016/j.electstud.2019.102070