Why Many Cooks If They Can Spoil the Broth? The Determinants of Multi-Party Mediation

Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 24 Jul 2012

Date Written: August 1, 2010


Despite numerous studies explaining the onset of international mediation in conflicts, the literature offers surprisingly little insights into when we are likely to see “multi-party mediation,” i.e., mediation attempts that are conducted by a coalition of interveners. In order to address this shortcoming, the paper builds upon prior research on coalition formations and mediation, and examines the onset of multi-party mediation from a threefold perspective. First, there are demand-side influences. More specifically, the author argues that factors pertaining to the belligerents themselves such as the intensity of a dispute, the regime type of the warring parties, or their capabilities are likely to explain if disputes see multi-party mediation. Second, supply-side determinants, i.e., intervener incentives, have an impact on the likelihood of multi-party mediation. The research concentrates here on mediators’ economy, the accountability of their executive, and capabilities. Finally, the paper claims that ties between the antagonists and the mediator(s) are also likely to matter. Accordingly, this study measures the bias of the latter towards the former. Utilizing data from the Issues Correlates of War Project (ICOW) in 1950-2000, the theoretical model is empirically tested in a quantitative large-N research design. The results point to a disconnect between the factors that promote single-party mediation onset and those that promote multi-party mediations.

Keywords: multi-party mediation, demand-side influences, supply-side incentives, bias

Suggested Citation

Boehmelt, Tobias, Why Many Cooks If They Can Spoil the Broth? The Determinants of Multi-Party Mediation (August 1, 2010). APSA 2010 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1644244

Tobias Boehmelt (Contact Author)

ETH Zürich ( email )

Zürichbergstrasse 18
8092 Zurich, CH-1015

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