What is it about?

After footballers of the Swiss national team showed a controversial gesture during a World Cup game, we observe a drastic drop in discrimination in the housing market. The gestures are a nationalist symbol of Albania and sparked a massive debate about the player's loyalties, their origin and integration. Combined with a positive context -- the team qualified for the next round -- and the threat of sanctions by the governing body FIFA, this led to drastically lower levels of discrimination.

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Why is it important?

Existing studies suggest that exclusion and discrimination change only slowly. Here we can show that under the right circumstances, rapid changes are possible. Celebrities and public figures as role models may play a bigger role than previously assumed.


We were able to combine a natural experiment (the gesture) with a field experiment on ethnic discrimination to provide new insights into how discrimination and exclusion may be reduced.

Didier Ruedin
Universite de Neuchatel

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: How one gesture curbed ethnic discrimination, European Journal of Political Research, August 2022, Wiley,
DOI: 10.1111/1475-6765.12547.
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