Rooting for the Same Team: Shared social identities in a polarized context

79 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2023 Last revised: 22 Aug 2023

See all articles by Nicolas Ajzenman

Nicolas Ajzenman

McGill University - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Bruno Ferman

Sao Paulo School of Economics - FGV

Pedro C. Sant'Anna

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics, Students

Date Written: August 11, 2023

Abstract

Can shared identities help overcome political divides in polarized settings? We answer this question with a field experiment on Twitter during the Brazilian 2022 elections. Although both congruence in political (supporting the same candidate) and affective (rooting for the same football team) identities increase follow-backs and reduce blocks, the positive effect of shared affective identity weakens when information on political identity is available. Using observational live-streamed data from Twitter during the 2022 World Cup, we complement our analysis by exploring the public political leaning of Brazilian players. Analyzing the content of tweets posted by Brazilian nationals during the country’s games, we document significant differences in fans’ reactions depending on their political alignment with the specific players that triggered relevant events in the game. Our results indicate that political identity can hinder the potential of other shared identities to reduce political divides and foster social cohesion.

Keywords: Social Identity, Affective Polarization, Brazilian Elections, Social Media

JEL Classification: D72, D91, C93, Z20

Suggested Citation

Ajzenman, Nicolás and Ferman, Bruno and C. Sant'Anna, Pedro, Rooting for the Same Team: Shared social identities in a polarized context (August 11, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4326148 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4326148

Nicolás Ajzenman

McGill University - Department of Economics ( email )

855 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal, QC H3A 2T7
CANADA

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Bruno Ferman

Sao Paulo School of Economics - FGV ( email )

Rua Itapeva n 474
Sao Paulo, DC 01332-000 20052
Brazil

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/brunoferman/

Pedro C. Sant'Anna (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics, Students ( email )

Cambridge, MA
United States

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