National Cultures and Soccer Violence

23 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2008  

Edward Miguel

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Sebastian M. Saiegh

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Political Science

Shanker Satyanath

New York University (NYU) - Wilf Family Department of Politics

Date Written: April 2008

Abstract

Can some acts of violence be explained by a society's "culture"? Scholars have found it hard to empirically disentangle the effects of culture, legal institutions, and poverty in driving violence. We address this problem by exploiting a natural experiment offered by the presence of thousands of international soccer (football) players in the European professional leagues. We find a strong relationship between the history of civil conflict in a player's home country and his propensity to behave violently on the soccer field, as measured by yellow and red cards. This link is robust to region fixed effects, country characteristics (e.g., rule of law, per capita income), player characteristics (e.g., age, field position, quality), outliers, and team fixed effects. Reinforcing our claim that we isolate cultures of violence rather than simple rule-breaking or something else entirely, there is no meaningful correlation between a player's home country civil war history and soccer performance measures not closely related to violent conduct.

Suggested Citation

Miguel, Edward and Saiegh, Sebastian M. and Satyanath, Shanker, National Cultures and Soccer Violence (April 2008). NBER Working Paper No. w13968. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1122756

Edward Miguel (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

549 Evans Hall #3880
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Sebastian M. Saiegh

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Political Science ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Code 0521
La Jolla, CA 92093-0521
United States

Shanker Satyanath

New York University (NYU) - Wilf Family Department of Politics ( email )

715 Broadway
New York, NY 10003
United States

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