Abstract: Exploiting the quasi-random nature of football matches outcomes and their timing, I study the
short-term causal impact of victories of national football teams on social unrest events in Africa. I find that victories reduce social unrest events whereas defeats do not. I document that victories appear to mainly affect violent events and mixed evidence in relation to government-targeted events. Victories report a heterogeneous impact depending on the ethnic fractionalization of countries and the level of autocracy of regimes, showing larger impact for more ethnically diverse and less autocratic countries. Studying the role of expectations, I report a stronger impact of victories when they are unexpected. Evidence suggests that the main channel at play is the national unity produced by victories, but I cannot reject the role of mood changes.