Circuit courts -- Florida, Circuit courts -- Florida -- Evaluation, Circuit courts -- Florida -- Finance


In 1998, Florida voters approved Article V, Revision 7, which changed the funding mechanism of the state circuit court system from a county/state mix to state responsibility. The change was implemented as planned in the 2004/05 fiscal year. Although increased efficiency was a key goal of Revision 7, to date no published studies exist on the impacts of Revision 7 on circuit or system efficiency and/or productivity. This work analyzes Revision 7, integrating the larger debate of increasing judgeships or improving efficiency. The study is a full performance analysis of the Florida circuit courts from 1993 through 2008 that can benchmark the system‟s future efficiency and productivity. In that respect, top performers are identified. The study follows the evolution of court studies from their rational origins to the more recent orientation of open-natural systems. Resource dependency and institutional theory, two open-natural system frameworks, are utilized to predict that Florida‟s circuit courts have become more efficient over the period since the implementation of Revision 7. The efficiency outcomes are expected to be unequal across circuit sizes. Integrating a Florida debate to a larger one that transcends time and culture, productivity changes are expected to be a function of the number of judges that a circuit adds within a given year, controlling for other factors. The results of the study methodologies—data envelopment analysis, Malmquist Productivity Index, hierarchal regression analysis and analysis of covariance—reveal that only 3 of 300 DMU‟s in Florida are technically efficient; the mean IOTA score is .76. The Florida circuits did not improve efficiency and productivity as expected, in fact becoming significantly less efficient over time as a function of Revision 7. Small and medium-sized circuits lost iii efficiency, large circuits showed no change and there was a significant interaction between circuit size and Revision 7 period. Within the system overall, productivity fell by 2.7%, most noticeably in the small and medium-sized circuits. The number of judges a circuit added explained 32.2% of the variance in total factor productivity change. The largest system productivity losses followed both Revision 7 intervention years and the addition of the most judges in a single year. Analysis of covariance revealed that productivity increased only when no judges were added to a circuit, regardless of circuit size or time period (+2.6%). The addition of a single judge reduced average productivity by 8.6%; adding two judges reduced productivity by 10.5% and adding 3 or more judges reduced productivity by 16.2%. As judges were added, productivity declined in circuits of all sizes, but the drop was more pronounced in the small and medium-sized circuits. None of the circuits showed an increase in productivity from 1993 to 2008. Revision 7 has not increased circuit court efficiency or productivity in Florida. It is recommended that efficiency and productivity analyses be included in resource allocation decisions such as adding judgeships. More data on court structures and process are needed. Efficiency and productivity measures show that the current level of circuit court judgeships is sufficient.


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Graduation Date





Wan, Thomas T. H.


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Health and Public Affairs

Degree Program

Public Affairs








Release Date

December 2010

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Health and Public Affairs, Health and Public Affairs -- Dissertations, Academic