Political Parties and Initial COVID-19 Policies: Subnational Trends in India

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In this analysis, we examine the relationship between the effective number of parliamentary parties (ENPP) at the state level in India and the initial policy responses among Indian state governments to the COVID-19 pandemic between January and April 2020. We find that by April 2020, Indian states with a relatively lower ENPP adopted more stringent measures to address the spread of the pandemic while states with a higher ENPP adopted less stringent measures. We hypothesize that it may have been more difficult for states with a larger number of parties to quickly adopt mitigation measures early in the pandemic, while it may have been relatively easier for states with a smaller number of parties. We discuss avenues for future research given the findings and the data presented in the paper.