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Book project

International Mediation of Wars: Causes and Consequences

My book manuscript addresses the problem that few statistical claims in the literature on international mediation and violent conflict offer compelling evidence for causal relationships between the two. The extent to which states and organizations such as the UN attempt conflict resolution is almost surely a function of the expected consequences of such attempts, and the book manuscript uses fresh theoretical and empirical insights to disentangle this endogenous relationship.

The book makes three key contributions: First, it develops a theoretical model not only of mediator efficacy, but also of mediator selection, which generates some counterintuitive hypotheses that have not previously been articulated in the literature. Second, it introduces an original dataset of mediation and negotiation events in the post-Cold War era, which complements existing data on mediation in inter- and intrastate armed conflicts.

Third, it applies principles and tools that permit causal statements about the effect of mediation (and particular kinds of mediation efforts) on conflict outcomes. This includes work in which I use the timing of conflict resolution events as an instrument for mediation incidence as well as work on the effects of multi-party mediation, which shows that mediators bandwagon as a settlement becomes imminent, thus inducing a spurious correlation between the number of third parties involved and the likelihood of a negotiated settlement.

Publications

2013. "The Logic of Child Soldiering and Coercion" (with Christopher Blattman), International Organization 67(1): 65–104. The article uses data from the Survey of War Affected Youth (SWAY).

2012. "International Mediation, Selection Effects, and the Question of Bias", Conflict Management and Peace Science 29(4): 397–424.

2012. "What the Numbers Say: A Digit-Based Test for Election Fraud" (with Alexandra Scacco), Political Analysis 20(2): 211-234. See also the supplementary materials and replication code and data.

We applied the method developed in this paper to the 2009 election results from Iran in our op-ed "The Devil Is in the Digits", which appeared in the online version of the Washington Post on June 20, 2009. An annotated version of the op-ed is available here. The op-ed was covered by Geo Magazin and by blogs affiliated with The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Times, Discover Magazine, Nature, Smithsonian Magazine, The Huffington Post, and others. You can also download the R analysis code and the data we used from the presidential election in Iran. I have also posted some additional thoughts on key criticisms that have been raised, and we speculate about the process by which province and county level counts were generated here.

Working papers

"Who Supports Partition? Violence and Political Attitudes in a Dividing Sudan" (with Philip Roessler and Alexandra Scacco), under review.

"Coping with Partition: Wealth, Security, and Migration in Post-Separation Sudan" (with Philip Roessler and Alexandra Scacco).

"Transactional Sex with Peacekeepers in Greater Monrovia" (with Michael Gilligan, Jenny Guardado, and Sabrina Karim).