Soccer wars

In recent years scholars have begun to focus on the consequences of individuals’ exposure to civil war, including its severe health and psychological consequences.

…We exploit the presence of thousands of international soccer (football) players with different exposures to civil conflict in the European professional leagues, and find a strong relationship between the extent 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.

…Reinforcing our claim that we isolate the effect of civil war exposure rather than simple rule-breaking or something else entirely, there is no meaningful correlation between our measure of exposure to civil war and soccer performance measures not closely related to violent conduct.

A new paper by Miguel, Saiegh and Satyanath.