Date of Submission


Date of Award


Institute Name (Publisher)

Indian Statistical Institute

Document Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Subject Name



Economic Research Unit (ERU-Kolkata)


Dasgupta, Indraneel (ERU-Kolkata; ISI)

Abstract (Summary of the Work)

A standard practice in the sociological and comparative-politics literature is to interpret ethnicity broadly as identity cleavages deriving from non-class categories such as language, religion, race and caste. In recent decades, conflicts between ‘ethnic’ communities, i.e., groups divided along non-class identity dimensions such as race, language, and, in particular, religion, have attained increasing salience in many countries. In response to this, a large analytical and empirical literature has developed both in political science and in political economics that seeks to explicate various aspects of this phenomenon. This thesis aims to throw light on two major aspects of ethnic conflicts. (1) The inter temporal and inter spatial nature of conflict, along with spillovers and linkages (2) The interdynamics of vertical unity in a community (characterized by a non-excludable community specific public good) and class solidarity in ethnic conflicts. In the domains of Economics and Political Science we often come across situations where two or more agents are engaged in multiple conflicts, which Kovenock and Roberson (2010) refer to as “battlefields”. The linkages amongst these battlefields have been an area of interest for game theorists for quite a while now. Borel (1921) formulated the foundational model, known as the Colonel Blotto Game, which dealt with multiple contests with linkages. Colonel Blotto Game involves two players who have fixed resources at their disposal. Each of these players are supposed to allocate resources across a finite number of battlefields, without knowing their rival’s allocation of resources across battlefields. In each battlefield the player who allocates the higher amount of resources, wins. The total payoff to a player is the sum of the payoffs from the individual battlefields. Borel’s Colonel Blotto game highlights how the budget constraint of each player acts as a linkage between the battlefields. Some recent work in this domain concentrates on illustrating structural linkages which are predominantly of the following types. (i) Cost function linkages and budget 5 constraint linkages (ii) Objective side linkages (majoritarian objective, best shot objective etc). Researchers have taken combinations of these linkages and tried to analyse the multiple battlefield scenario under those conditions. Golman and Page (2009), Kyasov (2007), Kovenock and Roberson (2008), Roberson and Kyasov (2008) have extensively dealt with structural linkages with different contest success functions (mainly the Tullock CSF or the Lottery CSF). But the battlefield “linkage”, which has not received its due attention is the linkage induced by outcome interdependence. If winning in one battlefield significantly enhances the chances of succeeding in another battlefield or otherwise, how would the competing players (which could be nations, firms or political factions) behave? We call this effect the “probability spill-over effect”, since probability of winning in a battlefield is influenced by what’s happening in another. Natalija Novta (2013) elucidates how conflicting groups battle for control over strategic territories because it might help them have an upper hand in future conflicts over other territories. She substantiated her findings with empirical evidence from Bosnia. We can observe this phenomenon in several domains including industrial organisation and political conflicts.


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