Judicial Performance Evaluation: Policy Diffusion Across the American States

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Title: Judicial Performance Evaluation: Policy Diffusion Across the American States
Author: Paynter, Sharon Renee
Advisors: Richard C. Kearney, Committee Chair
Maureen Berner, Committee Member
Dennis Daley, Committee Member
G. David Garson, Committee Member
Abstract: Tensions between independence and accountability, two hallmarks of the American judicial branch, create a responsibility, perhaps even an obligation, for officers of the court to perform efficiently, effectively, and to undergo periodic performance review. Creating performance evaluation programs holding courts accountable from both individual and organizational perspectives is challenging. It is difficult to evaluate judges and preserve the critical independence needed to decide cases freely, based only on the law. An innovative program called judicial performance evaluation (JPE) may change that. Despite its promise, the program has only been adopted by twenty states. Why those states? What forces compel actors to pursue JPE programs? The characteristics leading to policy diffusion in the American states are evaluated by considering how and when JPE programs have been adopted by state institutional bodies. The effects of legislative professionalization and method of judicial selection have the greatest impact on increasing the likelihood of the policy adoption. However, despite anecdotal evidence and findings from extant studies in other policy areas, political ideology, and geographic proximity are variables not significantly related to JPE diffusion. This study blends extant literature from social science including work from scholars of public administration, public policy, judicial administration, and court reform. The initial contribution of this dissertation is to help researchers understand why JPE may appeal to some states and not others. However, its primary purpose is to shed light on the intersection of these fields and to study policy diffusion using event history analysis. This study re-opens the door for court administration and reform literature to join mainstream public administration studies.
Date: 2008-12-03
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Public Administration
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/4555


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