Mediation Papers

These papers employ event data analysis to study various theories about the international mediation process. Often, the theory in question is illustrated with in depth study of a specific case or conflict involving pertinent mediation efforts.

Evaluating 'Ripeness' and 'Hurting Stalemate' in Mediated International Conflicts: An Event Data Study of the Middle East, Balkans, and West Africa

Philip A. Schrodt, Ömür Yilmaz, and Deborah J. Gerner

The contemporary literature on international mediation places a great deal of emphasis on the concept of a conflict being "ripe" for mediation, This in turn is determined in part by the parties being in a "hurting stalemate." While these concepts are attractive as metaphors, it is less than obvious whether they can be operationalized in a manner that enables either to be clearly determined ex ante (that is, prior to the success of a mediation). After reviewing the existing literature on ripeness and hurting stalemates, we examine the Israel-Lebanon, Israel-Palestine, former Yugoslavia, and the civil wars in Liberia, and Sierra Leone for empirical regularities prior to negotiation that differentiates whether parties will undertake negotiation , and whether the negotiation succeeds. Our analysis uses a new event data coding scheme called CAMEO (Conflict and Mediation Events Observations), which is optimized for the study of mediation behavior." We find that while "ripeness" can be measured using indicators of the level of conflict, "hurting stalemate" is more effectively measured as the long-term change in the amount of conflict measured across a number of months than in the levels of conflict. This measure of "hurting stalemate" correlates both with the onset of negotiation among the antagonists in the conflict, and significantly declines following negotiation. The Israel-Palestine case behaves differently than the remaining three, with much longer lag times for both the onset and effect of negotiation. The analysis shows potentially counter-intuitive results on the effects of negotiation on changes in cooperation, although it is likely that these are explained at least in part by inconsistencies in media coverage over time.

Presented at the 2003 Annual Meeting of the the International Studies Association,Portland OR, 26-29 February 2003.)

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Conflict and Mediation Event Observations (CAMEO): A New Event Data Framework for a Post Cold War World

Deborah J. Gerner, Philip A. Schrodt, Ömür Yilmaz, and Rajaa Abu-Jabr

The Conflict and Mediation Event Observations (CAMEO) framework is a new event data coding scheme optimized for the study of third party mediation in international disputes. The World Events Interaction Survey (WEIS) framework that the authors used in previous event data research has a number of shortcomings, including vagueness in and overlap of some categories, and a limited applicability to contemporary issues involving non-state actors. The authors have addressed these and other problems in constructing CAMEO and have produced far more complete documentation than is available for WEIS.

CAMEO has been developed and implemented using the TABARI automated coding program and has been used to generate data sets for the Balkans (1989-2002; N=71,081), Levant (1979-2002; N=139,376), and West Africa (1989-2002; N=18,519) from Reuters and Agence France Presse reports. This article reports statistical comparisons of CAMEO-coded and WEIS-coded data for these three geographical regions. CAMEO and WEIS show similar irregularities in the distribution of events by category. In addition, when the data are aggregated to a general behavioral level (that is, into verbal cooperation, material cooperation, verbal conflict and material conflict), most of the data sets show a high correlation (r > 0.90) in the number of WEIS and CAMEO events coded per month. Finally, there is a significant correlation (r > 0.57) between the count of CAMEO events specifically dealing with mediation and negotiation, and a pattern-based measure of mediation the authors developed earlier from WEIS data. CAMEO thus appears to maintain coverage of events typically coded by WEIS while adding enhanced precision and stronger coverage of additional activities such as mediation that are of increasing scholarly interest in the twenty-first century.

Presented at the 2002 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, 29 August - 1 September 2002.
(Earlier version at the International Studies Association, New Orleans, 23-27 March 2002.)

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Analyzing the dynamics of international mediation processes

Philip A. Schrodt, Deborah J. Gerner, Rajaa Abu-Jabr, Ömür Yilmaz and Erin M. Simpson

This paper presents initial results from a project that will formally test a number of the hypotheses embedded in the theoretical and qualitative literatures on mediation, using automated coding of event data from news-wire sources. In contrast to most of the existing quantitative literature, which emphasizes the structural aspects of mediation, we will focus on the dynamics.

The initial part of the paper focuses on two issues of design. First, we discuss the advantages of generating data using fully automated methods, which increases the transparency and replicability of the research. This transparency is extended to the development of more complex variables that cannot be captured as single events: these are defined as pattern of the underlying event data. We also suggest that these can be usefully studied using conventional inferential statistics rather than computational pattern recognition.

Second, we justify the "statistical case study" approach which focuses on a small number of cases that are limited in geographical and temporal scope. While the risk of this approach is that one will find patterns of behavior that apply only in those circumstances, we point out that the more conventional large-N time-series cross-sectional studies also carry inferential risks.

The statistical tests reported in this paper look at three different issues using data on the Israel-Lebanon and Israel-Palestinian conflicts in the Levant (1979-1999), and the Serbia-Croatia and Serbia-Bosnia conflicts in the Balkans (1991-1999). First, cross-correlation is used to look at the effects of mediation on the level of violence over time. Second, we test the "sticks-or-carrots" hypothesis on whether mediation is more effective in reducing violence if accompanied by cooperative or conflictual behavior by the mediator. Finally, we estimate Cox proportional hazard models to assess the factors that influence (1) whether mediation is accepted by the parties in a conflict, (2) whether formal agreements are reached, and (3) whether the agreements reduce the level of conflict.

Paper presented at the Eighteenth Annual Political Methodology Summer Conference, Emory University, July 19-21, 2001, and the 2001 Hong Kong Convention of the International Studies Association, 26-28 July 2001.

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Analyzing the Dynamics of International Mediation Processes in the Middle East and the former Yugoslavia

Deborah J. Gerner and Philip A. Schrodt

This paper discusses a new National Science Foundation-funded project that will examine the dynamics of third-party international mediation using statistical time-series analyses of political event data. Third-party mediation was attempted in over half of the conflicts in the post-WWII period and it is likely that the use of mediation has increased following the end of the Cold War. Surprisingly, there have been few systematic studies on mediation. Those that do exist have generally focused on relatively static contextual factors such as the the conflict's attributes and the prior relationship between the mediator and protagonists rather than on dynamic factors -- both contextual and process -- that may contribute to the success or failure of mediation activities. In contrast, the extensive qualitative literature provides numerous hypotheses about dynamic aspects of mediation. This, however, primarily consists of case studies, often by mediation practitioners, that exhibit little cumulation and, when taken as a whole, are rife with contradictory assertions.

The project will formally test a number of the hypotheses embedded in the theoretical and qualitative literatures on mediation, using automated coding of event data from news-wire sources and employing time-series and event-history methods. A system of specialized event codes that a sensitive to mediation activities will be developed, then events will be coded from news reports using the TABARI machine coding program. The research will look at the factors that influence (1) whether mediation is accepted by the parties in a conflict, (2) whether formal agreements are reached, and (3) whether the agreements actually reduce the level of conflict. The project will initially focus on conflicts in the Middle East, a region where the principal investigators have substantial field experience. After refining the statistical tests on the Middle East case, the analysis will be extended to event data on conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and West Africa.

The paper presents the results of an empirical "plausibility probe" based on existing WEIS-coded event data for the Levant and the former Yugoslavia. It employs a simple measure of third-party mediation efforts as the independent variables and Goldstein-scaled cooperation as the dependent variable. In the Levant, we find a weak but consistent pattern of mediation correlating with past conflictual activity, and resulting in later increases in cooperation. In the former Yugoslavia, the analysis shows strikingly different results for the mediation efforts the UN, European states, and the US. All three respond to increased conflict, but the UN efforts correlate with greater conflict, the US efforts with greater cooperation, and the European efforts have no effect. These results are consistent with many of the qualitative assessments of these efforts, and suggest that the event data approach will produce credible results.

Paper presented at the International Studies Association, Chicago, 21-24 February 2001

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Potentials and Pitfalls in the Application of Event Data to the Study of International Mediation

Philip A. Schrodt

This paper is a continuation of a joint project involving researchers at the University of Kansas, University of Maryland, and SUNY-Stony Brook that grew out of the "Multiple Paths to Knowledge Project" sponsored by the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, Rice University, and the Program in Foreign Policy Decision Making, Texas A&M University. This paper discusses some issues involved in comparing three methods of studying international mediation: computer simulation, laboratory experiment, and event data analysis. The two major strengths of this comparative approach are (1) substantial similarity between the event-based approaches used in simulation and laboratory experiments, and those used in event data; (2) the large amount of readily-coded information on international mediation available in machine-readable sources. The three major disadvantages are (1) the irregularity of news coverage; (2) the fact that real-world negotiations may be substantially more complex than simulated negotiations and (3) the difficulty in capturing and coding highly detailed aspects of negotiation.

Presented at the 2000 Annual Meeting of the the International Studies Association,Los Angeles, CA, March 2000.)

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Detecting United States Mediation Styles in the Middle East, 1979-1998

Philip A. Schrodt
In Zeev Maoz, Alex Mintz, T. Cliff Morgan, Glenn Palmer, and Richard J. Stoll, eds. , 2004. Multiple Paths to Knowledge in International Relations. Lexington, M.A.: Lexington Books.

This research is part of the "Multiple Paths to Knowledge Project" sponsored by the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, Rice University, and the Program in Foreign Policy Decision Making, Texas A&M University. The paper deals with the problem of determining whether the mediation styles used by four U.S. Secretaries of State -- George Schultz, James Baker, Warren Christopher and Madeline Albright -- are sufficiently distinct that they can be detected in event data. The mediation domain is the Israel-Palestinian conflict from April 1979 to December 1998, the event data are coded from the Reuters news service reports using the WEIS event coding scheme, and the classification technique is hidden Markov models.

The models are estimated for each of the four Secretaries based on 16 randomly chosen 32-events sequences of USA>ISR and USA>PAL events during the term of the Secretary. Each month in the data set is then assigned to one of the four Secretarial styles based on the best-fitting model. The models differentiate the mediation styles quite distinctly and this method of detecting styles yields quite different results when applied to ISR-PAL data or random data. The "Baker" and "Albright" styles are most distinctive; the "Schultz" style is least; both results are consistent with many qualitative characterizations of these periods.

A series of t-tests is then done on Goldstein-scaled scores to determine whether the mediation styles translate into statistically distinct interactions in the ISR>USA, ISR>PAL, PAL>USA and PAL>ISR dyads. While there are a number of statistically-significant differences when the full sample is used, these may be due simply to the overall changes Israel-Palestinian relations over the course of the time series. When tests are done on months that are out-of-term—in other words, where the style of one Secretary is being employed during the term of another—few statistically-significant differences are found, though there is some indication of a lag of a month or so between the change in style and the behavioral response. It appears that the effects of the differing styles are not captured by changes in aggregated data, possibly because these scales force behavior into a single conflict-cooperation dimension.

Paper presented at the International Studies Association meetings, Washington, DC, 16-20 February 1999

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LAST UPDATED: 1 DECEMBER 2003