Football fans will cheer on their teams at the World Cup finals in Russia later this month but researchers suggest the passions involved can be put to good use even off the pitch. A photograph taken on May 30, 2018 shows the FIFA World Cup 2018 flag in front of the Kremlin in Moscow. The FIFA World Cup 2018 tournament kicks off on June 14, 2018. (Photo: Mladen ANTONOV / AFP) The emotional effects of victory and even qualification for a major tournament may help strengthen national identity in countries where it is lacking, they argued. The study, published last month by the National Bureau of Economic Research, suggested a feel-good factor from big-match wins can improve trust between ethnic groups and cut unrest. “The effect is sizeable and robust and is not explained by generic euphoria or optimism. Crucially, national victories do not only affect attitudes but also reduce violence,” it added. Ruben Durante, a political economist at the Paris Institute of Political Studies who co-authored the paper, said there were many examples about how sport had brought nations together. In 1980, US resolve in the Cold War was hardened by an improbable ice hockey victory against the Soviet… Read full this story
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