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One Team, One Nation: Football, Ethnic Identity, and Conflict in Africa

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  • Depetris-Chauv�n, Emilio
  • Durante, Ruben

Abstract

Do collective experiences that prime sentiments of national unity reduce interethnic tensions and conflict? We examine this question by looking at the impact of national football teams� victories in sub-Saharan Africa. Combining individual survey data with information on official matches played between 2000 and 2015, we find that individuals interviewed in the days after a victory of their country�s national team are less likely to report a strong sense of ethnic identity and more likely to trust people of other ethnicities than those interviewed just before. The effect is sizable and robust and is not explained by generic euphoria or optimism. Crucially, national victories do not only affect attitudes but also reduce violence. Indeed, using plausibly exogenous variation from close qualifications to the Africa Cup of Nations, we find that countries that (barely) qualified experience significantly less conflict in the following six months than countries that (barely) did not. Our findings indicate that, even where ethnic cleavages have deep historical roots, patriotic shocks can reduce inter-ethnic tensions and have a tangible impact on conflict.

Suggested Citation

  • Depetris-Chauv�n, Emilio & Durante, Ruben, 2017. "One Team, One Nation: Football, Ethnic Identity, and Conflict in Africa," CEPR Discussion Papers 12233, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:12233
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    Cited by:

    1. Abramson, Boaz & Shayo, Moses, 2017. "Grexit vs. Brexit: International Integration under Endogenous Social Identities," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 334, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    2. Carlos Viana de Carvalho & Eduardo Zilberman & Ruy Ribeiro, "undated". "Sentiment, Electoral Uncertainty and Stock Returns," Textos para discussão 655, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).

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    Keywords

    Africa; Ethnic Conflict; Ethnic identity; Football; Nationalism; Trust;

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