Literacy, Information, and Party System Fragmentation in India

Arturas Rozenas, Anoop Sadanandan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    A rich theoretical literature argues that, in contradiction to Duverger’s law, the plurality voting rule can fail to produce two-party system when voters do not share their common information about the electoral situation. We present an empirical operationalization and a series of tests of this informational hypothesis in the case of India using constituency- and individual-level data. In highly illiterate constituencies where access to information and information sharing among voters is low, voters often fail to coordinate on the two most viable parties. In highly literate constituencies, voters are far more successful at avoiding vote-wasting—in line with the informational hypothesis. At a microlevel, these aggregate-level patterns are driven by the interaction of individual information and the informational context: In dense informational environments, even low-information voters can successfully identify viable parties and vote for them, but in sparse informational environments, individual access to information is essential for successful strategic voting.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)555-586
    Number of pages32
    JournalComparative Political Studies
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - Apr 1 2018


    • India
    • electoral coordination
    • information and voting
    • representation and electoral systems

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science


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