Why Ethnic Parties Succeed - Patronage and Ethnic Head Counts In India

Why Ethnic Parties Succeed - Patronage and Ethnic Head Counts In India

Product ID: 14058

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Author: Kanchan Chandra
Publisher: Cambridge University press
Year: 2004
Language: English
Pages: 345
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0521608376


Why do some ethnic parties succeed in attracting the support of their target ethnic groups while others fail? In a world in which ethnic parties flourish in established and emerging democracies alike, understanding the conditions under which such parties succeed or fail is of critical importance to both political scientists and policy makers. Drawing on a study of variation in the performance of ethnic parties in India, this book builds a theory of ethnic party performance in patronage democracies.

Chandra shows why voters in such democracies choose between parties conducting ethnic head counts rather than by comparing policy platforms or ideological positions. Building on these individual micro foundations, she argues than an ethnic party is likely to succeed when it has competitive rules for intraparty advancement and when the size of the group it seeks to mobilize exceeds the threshold of winning or leverage imposed by the electoral system.

Kanchan Chandra is one of the brightest lights in the new generation of political scholars of India. Chandra's contribution to ethnic studies is her challenge to the pessimistic premise advanced by leading scholars of ethnic politics that ethnic solidarities, unlike class and interest groups, are incompatible with and destructive of democratic process. In her view competition among ethnic communities can lead to centrism and democratic survival rather than extremism and democratic destruction. She argues her case in game theoretic from while showing a good feel for the nitty gritty of Indian electoral settings.
-Susanne Hoeber Rudolph, University of Chicago

In explaining why some ethnic parties succeed while other fail, Kanchan Chandra makes an important contribution to our understanding of ethnicity in politics. By highlighting the interaction of group size and internal party rules in a context characterized by the kind of information constraints inherent in patronage democracies, she provides a novel micro foundation for ethnic politics in competitive democracies. In addition, her book sets a new benchmark on how to combine abstract thinking and rich analysis.
-Stathic N Kalyvas, Yale University


List of Maps, Figures, and Tables

List of Abbreviations

A Note on Terminology




Limited Information and Ethnic Categorization
Patronage-democracy, Limited Information, and Ethnic Favouritism
Counting Heads: Why Ethnic Parties Succeed in Patronage-Democracies
Why Parties Have Different Ethnic Head Counts: Party Organization and Elite


India as a Patronage-Democracy
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Scheduled Castes (SCs)
Why SC Elites Join the BSP
Why SC Voters Prefer the BSP
Why SC Voter Preferences Translate into BSP Votes
Explaining Different Head Counts in the BSP and Congress
Extending the Argument to other Ethnic Parties in India: The BJP, The DMK, and The JMM
Ethnic Head Counts and Democratic Stability

Elite Interviews

Ethnographies of Election Campaigns

Content Analysis

Description of Survey Data

Description of the Ecological Inference (EI) Method

Method Used to Estimate ethnic voting Patterns