We develop and test a theory of the supply side of third party conflict management. Building on an existing formal model of mediation (Kydd 2003), we consider several factors that increase the pool of potential neutral mediators and the frequency of mediators’ efforts to manage interstate conflicts. First, we argue that democratic mediators face greater audience costs for deception in the conflict management process because the media in democratic states is more likely to uncover attempts by democratic mediators to provide false information. Second, we argue that information in the global mediation marketplace becomes more accurate as the international system becomes more democratic because there is a wider network of vigilant free presses, which increases the costs of deception for potential mediators. Third, as disputants’ ties to international organizations increase, this also raises the costs that mediators incur for dishonesty in the conflict management process because these institutions provide more frequent and accurate information about the disputants’ capabilities and resolve. Empirical analyses of data on contentious issues (1816-2001) provide support for our theory, with third party conflict management occurring more frequently if a potential mediator is a democracy, and as the average global democracy level and the number of shared IO memberships between disputants rises. We also find that powerful states serve as mediators more often, and that trade ties, alliances, issue salience, and distance influence third party decisions to mediate.
Journal Article Version
Copyright © 2008 Mark J.C. Crescenzi, Kelly M. Kadera, Sara Mitchell and Clayton L. Thyne