The Promise of Accountability: Countering Bias in Decision Making

Fall 2012
  • Graduate
Christina S. Carbone
Jurisprudence & Social Policy
The Promise of Accountability: Countering Bias in Decision Making

This study is one part of my dissertation project, which, at its core, seeks to answer the following question: What is the extent to which, the context in which, and the mechanisms by which accountability can serve as an effective strategy to address explicit and implicit racial bias in decision making? My project examines this question within the context of the criminal justice system and the types of decisions that prosecutors in particular make with respect to criminal cases. Employing both organizational analysis and experimental methods, my project understands bias as not only an individual-level phenomenon, but also as something that can be shaped and influenced by the organizational context in which a particular decision process is situated. In this phase of the project I draw on a national sample of adult participants to experimentally examine the relative effectiveness of two types of accountability--directed and undirected--over a series of decisions regarding a hypothetical criminal suspect.