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Conflict Exposure and Competitiveness: Experimental Evidence from the Football Field in Sierra Leone

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  • Francesco Cecchi
  • Koen Leuveld
  • Maarten Voors

Abstract

We use data from a street football tournament and a series of lab-in-field experiments in postconflict Sierra Leone to examine the impact of exposure to conflict violence on competitive behavior. We find that football players who experienced more intense exposure to violence are more likely to get a foul card during a game. In the lab we find that these individuals are significantly less risk averse and more altruistic toward their in-group (teammates). We then isolate competitiveness from aggressiveness and find that conflict exposure increases the willingness to compete toward the out-group. These results are in line with theory highlighting the role of intergroup conflict in increasing in-group cooperation while exacerbating out-group antagonism. Next to other-regarding preferences and risk propensity, changes in individual preferences for competition may affect long-run development trajectories and postconflict recovery.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesco Cecchi & Koen Leuveld & Maarten Voors, 2016. "Conflict Exposure and Competitiveness: Experimental Evidence from the Football Field in Sierra Leone," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64(3), pages 405-435.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:ecdecc:doi:10.1086/684969
    DOI: 10.1086/684969
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ghobarah, Hazem Adam & Huth, Paul & Russett, Bruce, 2003. "Civil Wars Kill and Maim People—Long After the Shooting Stops," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 97(2), pages 189-202, May.
    2. William Harbaugh & Kate Krause & Lise Vesterlund, 2002. "Risk Attitudes of Children and Adults: Choices Over Small and Large Probability Gains and Losses," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 5(1), pages 53-84, June.
    3. Achyuta Adhvaryu & James Fenske, 2013. "War, resilience and political engagement in Africa," CSAE Working Paper Series 2013-08, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    4. Sutter, Matthias, 2007. "Outcomes versus intentions: On the nature of fair behavior and its development with age," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 69-78, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cecchi, Francesco & Duchoslav, Jan, 2018. "The effect of prenatal stress on cooperation: Evidence from violent conflict in Uganda," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 35-56.
    2. Bhalotra, Sonia R. & Clots-Figueras, Irma & Iyer, Lakshmi & Vecci, Joseph, 2018. "Leader Identity and Coordination," IZA Discussion Papers 11803, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Michal Bauer & Christopher Blattman & Julie Chytilová & Joseph Henrich & Edward Miguel & Tamar Mitts, 2016. "Can War Foster Cooperation?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 249-274, Summer.

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