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Student politics: A Game-theoretic exploration

Listed author(s):
  • Soumyanetra Munshi

    ()

    (Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research)

Students in institutes of higher education often engage in campus-politics. Typically there are student-parties who electorally compete with each other to gain control of the union which is usually the apex student body dealing directly with the higher authorities on student-related and other academic issues. Often however, campus politics act as fertile breeding grounds for future politicians of the country. As a result there is often direct intervention by larger political parties into student affairs. In fact, the student parties on campus are essentially student wings of larger national parties, which command huge amounts of resources that are used during elections, often instigating conflict and violence on-campus. This paper game-theoretically models the interplay of such `extra-electoral' investments and electoral outcomes in an otherwise standard probabilistic voting model. We find that the political party who is likely to be more popular is also more likely to expend greater resources towards `extra-electoral' elements, in turn spawning greater violence on-campus, even when such investments are disliked by student-voters. We also look at some plausible extensions of the benchmark model where this basic conclusion still holds true. The essential flavor and predictions of the model are borne out by several historical and contemporary instances of student politics in some countries like India, Burma, and Latin America.

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File URL: http://www.igidr.ac.in/pdf/publication/WP-2014-047.pdf
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Paper provided by Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India in its series Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers with number 2014-047.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2014
Handle: RePEc:ind:igiwpp:2014-047
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  1. Dasgupta, Indraneel, 2009. "'Living' wage, class conflict and ethnic strife," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 750-765, November.
  2. Thurner, Paul W & Eymann, Angelika, 2000. "Policy-Specific Alienation and Indifference in the Calculus of Voting: A Simultaneous Model of Party Choice and Abstention," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 102(1-2), pages 51-77, January.
  3. Dixit, Avinash K, 1987. "Strategic Behavior in Contests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 891-898, December.
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