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Analytical Literature Review of the Cost-Effectiveness of ADR

NCJ Number
Date Published
57 pages
Empirical and nonempirical literature on the cost- effectiveness of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) was reviewed, with emphasis on both findings and the issues and concerns that must be addressed in measuring ADR's cost- effectiveness.
The literature search covered electronic databases available through computer networks, a literature review using both academic and popular sources, and interviews with experts in measuring cost-effectiveness of government programs. Results revealed a lack of empirical data on cost- effectiveness of ADR, as well as methodological differences in obtaining this data. Factors examined varied, but often included some or all of the following: cost and efficiency, disputants' satisfaction with the process, settlement rates, impact on court workloads, compliance rates, and issues related to the quality of justice. One finding that is consistent across dozens of studies of different kinds of ADR in varied settings is high levels of user satisfaction. Business in the United States has come to recognize the cost-effectiveness of ADR; the situation is less clear in Canada. Arbitration is the process on which most cost- effectiveness data are available. One of the most important factors in maximizing the cost-effectiveness of ADR is case selection. It is recommended that Canada's Department of Justice consider collecting its own data and undertaking its own evaluations of ADR programs. Appended model cost analysis procedure, list of persons interviewed, and 53 references