Students and protests: A quantitative cross-national analysis
Previous studies have found a positive relationship between the youth and the educated with protest number, but the form that these protests take needs further research. We argue that students are a unique group, acting neither as an educated nor a young population, and three possible mechanisms push students towards non-violent rather than violent forms of protest. By promoting values of tolerance, higher levels of human capital, and social mobility, education serves as a factor that pacifies destructive tendencies in protest movements. At the same time, universities are a platform for cooperation, and the large amounts of free time and energy make the costs of participating in protests for students minimal compared to other groups. Using a negative binomial regression and a rare events logistic regression, we find that the proportion of students is a strong and consistently significant predictor of the number of nonviolent demonstrations. On the other hand, the share of students in the total population does not turn out to be significantly associated with violent protests/armed uprisings.