Who Mediates? The Political Economy of International Conflict Management

Journal article

Bercovitch, Jacob & Gerald Schneider (2000) Who Mediates? The Political Economy of International Conflict Management, Journal of Peace Research 37 (2): 145–165.


Studies on international mediation have traditionally focused on the effectiveness of international efforts to settle or resolve militarized conflicts. In this article, we start from a different perspective and examine the identity of mediators and the factors determining the choice of mediators. We build an integrative theoretical framework to explain the number of mediation mandates an international actor receives. The hypotheses we derive are subsequently tested in a multivariate event count model using an original dataset on international mediation from 1950 to 1990. The results obtained from Poisson and negative binomial regressions disconfirm the assertion that the effectiveness of a mediator influences the number of mandates it receives. The most important structural force on the international mediation market seems to be the hegemonic status of the USA. The analysis further demonstrates that international conflict management is largely, but not exclusively, restricted to the permanent members of the Security Council of the UN. As the theoretical framework suggests, ideological factors, such as the neutrality of the mediator, play a less significant role on the market for mediation. Democracies equally are not significantly more active than autocracies in the management of international conflicts.

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