Building Nations Through Shared Experiences: Evidence from African Football
with Emilio Depetris-Chauvin and Ruben Durante. American Economic Review 110(5): 1572-1602, May 2020 [Online Article] [PDF]
We examine whether shared collective experiences help build a national identity, by looking at the impact of national football teams’ victories in sub-Saharan Africa. We find that individuals surveyed in the days after an important victory of their country’s national team are 37 percent less likely to identify primarily with their ethnic group, and 30 percent more likely to trust other ethnicities, than those interviewed just before. Crucially, national team achievements also reduce violence: countries that (barely) qualified to the Africa Cup of Nations experience less civil conflict (9 percent fewer episodes) in the following months than countries that (barely) did not.
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