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Detecting United States Mediation Styles in the Middle East, 1979-1998
Schrodt, Philip A.

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 someindication 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. Consistent with other papers in the "Multiple Paths to Knowledge" project, the paper contains commentary on how the research project was actually done, as well as the conventional presentation of results. The file includes the papers in Postscript and PDF formats, the event data (Levant, April 1979 to December 1998) used in the analysis, the C source code for estimating the hidden Markov models. This paper was presented at the International Studies Association meetings, Washington, 16-21 February 1999

event data
hidden Markov models
Middle East
time series

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