This article identifies a mechanism through which multiparty mediation – mediation with multiple active third parties – has positive effects on civil war resolution. Balanced mediation efforts – those providing third parties biased toward both sides of the dispute – have unique advantages in generating peaceful outcomes. In particular, balanced efforts alleviate the commitment concerns faced by both the rebel group and the government, improving the prospects for peace. In this article, I develop a measure, Mediation balance, which aggregates the mediators’ biases when multiple third parties are present. I also consider, both theoretically and empirically, how the number of mediators interacts with mediation balance to shape outcomes. I test my theory on civil war mediation attempts between 1989 and 2005, finding that balanced mediation efforts improve the probability of reaching an agreement. Furthermore, the strength of this effect is influenced by the number of mediators involved. Mediation balance also influences the probability the agreement halts the violence, albeit in unexpected ways.
This was originally published on SAGE Publications Ltd: Journal of Peace Research: Table of Contents.