Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Building Nations Through Shared Experience

Electronic data

  • AER-2018-0805_manuscript

    Accepted author manuscript, 541 KB, PDF document

    Available under license: CC BY-NC: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License


Text available via DOI:

View graph of relations

Building Nations Through Shared Experience: Evidence from African Football

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/05/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>The American Economic Review
Issue number5
Number of pages31
Pages (from-to)1572-1602
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


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.