Robert K. Christensen

Brigham Young University
Marriott School of Management

771 TNRB
Brigham Young Univ
Provo, UT
84602 |  Visit Personal Website

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I am associate professor in the Romney Institute of Public Management in BYU's Marriott School of Management At the institutional level I am interested in the relationship between courts (broadly public law) and public administration. I also study courts and judges from policy and management perspectives.

Christensen, Robert K. & Szmer, John. (2011). “Examining the Efficiency of the U.S. Courts of Appeals: Pathologies and Prescriptions.” International Review of Law and Economics
Abstract: Until recently, few studies have examined the factors that might affect aspects of judicial efficiency, including the time it takes a court to decide a case. In our analysis of a sample o f U.S. Courts of Appeals decisions from 1971-1996, we examine a variety of potential causes of inefficiency, or pathologies, before suggesting a series of prescriptions.
Christensen, Robert K., Szmer, John, Stritch, Justin. (2012). “Race and gender bias in three administrative contexts: Impact on work assignments in state supreme courts.” Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory.
Abstract: Do certain types of administrative processes better inhibit race and gender prejudices that may surface in the public workplace? We compare the effects of three distinct administrative settings on race, gender, and other biases in the workload assignments of state su- preme court justices—important public policy making settings that have been understudied in public administration. In particular, we model the extent to which majority opinion– writing assignment processes exhibit prejudice in states that use randomized assignments, rotated assignments, or fully discretionary assignments, respectively. Our findings confirm that administrative process matters. We use theories of status characteristics and admin- istrative oversight to explain the relationship between administrative context and workload assignment patterns. Based on data from all 50 states, we discover that prejudice exists but that certain administrative processes serve better than others to suppress race and gender biases.

Substantive Focus:
Law and Policy PRIMARY
Governance SECONDARY
Social Policy

Theoretical Focus:
Policy Process Theory SECONDARY
Agenda-Setting, Adoption, and Implementation PRIMARY