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Some Conceptual Issues and Empirical Trends in the Study of Successful Mediation in International Relations


  • Jacob Bercovitch

    (Department of Political Science, University of Canterbury)

  • J. Theodore Anagnoson

    (Department of Political Science, California State University, Los Angeles)

  • Donnette L. Wille

    (Department of Political Science, University of Canterbury)


Despite its ubiquity and importance as a means of managing international conflict, mediation has only recently begun to be studied in a systematic manner. This article utilizes an original dataset of international disputes and mediation efforts occurring in the 1945-89 period to assess the character of international mediation and to examine the contextual and process variables which affect mediation outcomes. These variables are classed under four categories: (1) the nature of the disputing parties, (2) the nature of the dispute itself, (3) the identity and characteristics of the mediator, and (4) the strategies and tactics which the mediator employs. In this study, a preliminary analysis is undertaken to determine the nature and degree to which the variables in each of these categories affect mediation outcomes. The results indicate that dispute intensity, mediator strategies and dispute issues exert the greatest influence on the effectiveness of international mediation. A complex of other factors, including the timing of entry into mediation, the power disparity between the disputants and the nature of the disputants' former relations also demonstrate an effect, though somewhat weaker, on mediation outcomes. The article presents conclusions on the effectiveness of international mediation and points the way for more much-needed empirical work in this area.

Suggested Citation

  • Jacob Bercovitch & J. Theodore Anagnoson & Donnette L. Wille, 1991. "Some Conceptual Issues and Empirical Trends in the Study of Successful Mediation in International Relations," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 28(1), pages 7-17, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:joupea:v:28:y:1991:i:1:p:7-17

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    3. Julian Bergmann & Arne Niemann, 2015. "Mediating International Conflicts: The European Union as an Effective Peacemaker?," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(5), pages 957-975, September.
    4. Johannes Hörner & Massimo Morelli & Francesco Squintani, 2015. "Mediation and Peace," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(4), pages 1483-1501.
    5. Dominic Rohner, 2018. "Success Factors for Peace Treaties: A Review of Theory and Evidence," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'économie 18.08, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, Département d’économie.
    6. repec:eee:jeborg:v:154:y:2018:i:c:p:121-136 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Adam Meirowitz & Massimo Morelli & Kristopher W. Ramsay & Francesco Squintani, 2019. "Dispute Resolution Institutions and Strategic Militarization," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 127(1), pages 378-418.
    8. Mathieu Couttenier & Raphael Soubeyran, 2010. "Civil War in a Globalized World: Diplomacy and Trade," Working Papers 10-02, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Feb 2010.
    9. Eisenkopf, Gerald, 2016. "Communication and Conflict Management," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145634, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    10. Mathieu COUTTENIER & Raphael SOUBEYRAN, 2011. "Diplomatic Intervention in Civil War : Trade for All or Trade for One?," Working Papers 11-08, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Apr 2011.
    11. Hosli Madeleine O. & Hoekstra Anke, 2013. "What Fosters Enduring Peace? An Analysis of Factors Influencing Civil War Resolution," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 19(2), pages 123-155, August.
    12. Gerald Eisenkopf, 2015. "Communication and conflict management," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2015-21, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.

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