drawing from the preceding examples, what factors do you think differentiate occasions when mediation was successful and when it failed

Topics: Mediation, Dispute resolution, Bias, United States / Pages: 58 (14447 words) / Published: Dec 11th, 2013
International Studies Quarterly (2008) 52, 25–47

Information, Bias, and Mediation Success*
Burcu Savun
University of Pittsburgh
Why do some mediation episodes produce successful negotiated settlements between the disputants of international conflict while others fail to achieve success? This article examines how certain characteristics of a mediator, that is, a mediator’s information about the disputants and a mediator’s bias toward them, affect the success of mediation of international conflicts. By drawing a conceptual distinction between absolute and relative bias and measuring the type of information that is relevant for mediation success, I demonstrate that both the degree of bias a mediator holds toward the disputants and the degree of information a mediator has about the disputants are significant predictors of mediation success.

Mediation of international conflicts by third parties is as old and common as international conflict itself. Throughout history, belligerents have repeatedly turned to the aid of third parties to help them terminate their hostilities. In some instances, mediation serves as a crucial catalyst by providing the opportunity for the belligerents to reach a negotiated settlement, such as the Dayton
Accord that ended the war in Bosnia in 1995 (Holbrooke 1998), while in other cases it fails to produce a successful outcome, such as the Camp David negotiation between Israel and the Palestinians in 2000 (Ross 2005). Why do some mediation activities produce peaceful outcomes while others fail to achieve success? In this study, I assess how certain characteristics of a mediator, that is, a mediator’s information about the disputants and a mediator’s bias towards them, affect the success of mediation of international conflicts.1
Although mediation of international disputes is a common practice, our theoretical understanding of mediation outcomes is still weak. One oft-debated factor that is argued to exert considerable



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