Information, Bias, and Mediation Success*


  • *

    A previous version of this paper was presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Studies Association, San Diego, California, March 2006 and the Annual Meeting of Peace Science Society (International), Columbus, Ohio, November 2006. I thank Ashley Leeds, Finley and Ernie Biggerstaff, Andrew Kydd, Michaela Mattes, Brian Phillips, Bill Reed, Randy Stevenson, Richard Stoll and three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions. Data can be found at and at


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.