Judith Kelley

Judith Kelley

Professor of Political Science

External Address: 
124A Sanford Bldg, Box 90245, Durham, NC 27708
Internal Office Address: 
Box 90245, Durham, NC 27708-0245
(919) 613-7309
Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Institutions

Judith Kelley became the Dean of the Sanford School of Public Policy in July 2018. Kelley, an expert on international relations, researches how international actors can promote democratic and human rights reforms. Kelley is also a senior fellow with the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University.
Kelley's work focuses on how states, international organizations, and NGOs can promote domestic political reforms in problem states, and how international norms, laws and other governance tools influence state behavior. Substantively, her work addresses human rights and democracy, international election observation, and human trafficking. Past work has focused on the International Criminal Court, the European Union, and other international organizations. Her book, Monitoring Democracy: When International Election Observation Works and Why It Often Fails (Princeton 2012) was "One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2013" and also received the Chadwick F. Alger Prize, which is awarded by the International Studies Association to recognize the "best book published in the previous calendar year on the subject of international organization and multilateralism." Details on her election monitoring project are on the web at Project on International Election Monitoring.Kelley's more recent work focuses on the global fight against human trafficking. Her recent book, Scorecard Diplomacy: Grading States to Influence their Reputation and Behavior (Cambridge University Press, 2017), assesses the US policy on trafficking around the world. More about the book can be found at www.scorecarddiplomacy.org.Relatedly, the book is also an examination of the rising phenomenon of global ratings and rankings, a topic on which Kelley has worked extensively, editing another book, The Power of Global Performance Indicators, that is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press. This body of work also covers an assessment of the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Indicators, as well as a survey of the global emergence of indicator systems.
Kelley's work has been published by Princeton University Press, Cambridge University Press, and in journals such as American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, International Organization, International Studies Quarterly, and the Journal of Common Market Studies. Her work has been discussed by media outlets such as the Economist, the BBC, the Washington Post, and US News and World Report.In 2012, Kelley was inducted into the Bass Society of Fellows at Duke, which recognizes faculty for excellence in both teaching and scholarship. Kelley has also been awarded the Sanford School’s Susan E. Tifft Undergraduate Teaching and Mentoring Award, and she was the 2016 inaugural recipient of the Brownell-Whetten Award for Diversity and Inclusion. The Smith Richardson Foundation has supported her as a Policy and Strategy Fellow. In 2009-2010 she was a visiting fellow at the University of Aarhus, Denmark. She also was elected Chair of the Editorial Board of International Organization. She serves on several boards, including the Hunt Institute, and the Government Accountability Office Board of Academic Advisors.


  • Ph.D., Harvard University 2001
  • M.P.P., Harvard University 1997
  • B.A., Stanford University 1995

Kelley, J., and Beth Simmons, editors. The Power of Global Performance Indicators. Cambridge University Press, 2019.

Kelley, J. G. Ethnic Politics in Europe: The Power of Norms and Incentives. Princeton University Press, 2004.

Nielson, D. L., et al. “The elusive sources of legitimacy beliefs: Civil society views of international election observers.” Review of International Organizations, vol. 14, no. 4, Dec. 2019, pp. 685–715. Scopus, doi:10.1007/s11558-018-9331-6. Full Text

Kelley, J. G., and B. A. Simmons. “Introduction: The Power of Global Performance Indicators.” International Organization, vol. 73, no. 3, June 2019, pp. 491–510. Scopus, doi:10.1017/S0020818319000146. Full Text

Doshi, R., et al. “The Power of Ranking: The Ease of Doing Business Indicator and Global Regulatory Behavior.” International Organization, vol. 73, no. 3, June 2019, pp. 611–43. Scopus, doi:10.1017/S0020818319000158. Full Text

Heiss, A., and J. G. Kelley. “From the Trenches: A Global Survey of Anti-TIP NGOs and Their Views of U.S. Efforts.” Journal of Human Trafficking, vol. 3, no. 3, July 2017, pp. 231–54. Scopus, doi:10.1080/23322705.2016.1199241. Full Text Open Access Copy

Heiss, A., and J. Kelley. “Between a rock and a hard place: International NGOs and the dual pressures of donors and host governments.” Journal of Politics, vol. 79, no. 2, Apr. 2017, pp. 732–41. Scopus, doi:10.1086/691218. Full Text Open Access Copy

Kelley, J. G., and B. A. Simmons. “Politics by number: Indicators as social pressure in international relations.” American Journal of Political Science, vol. 59, no. 1, Jan. 2015, pp. 55–70. Scopus, doi:10.1111/ajps.12119. Full Text Open Access Copy

Kelley, J. G., and J. C. W. Pevehouse. “An Opportunity Cost Theory of US Treaty Behavior.” International Studies Quarterly, vol. 59, no. 3, Jan. 2015, pp. 531–43. Scopus, doi:10.1111/isqu.12185. Full Text Open Access Copy

Kelley, J. G. “International influences on elections in new multiparty states.” Annual Review of Political Science, vol. 15, June 2012, pp. 203–20. Scopus, doi:10.1146/annurev-polisci-030810-110805. Full Text Open Access Copy

Kelley, J. “Do international election monitors increase or decrease opposition boycotts?.” Comparative Political Studies, vol. 44, no. 11, Nov. 2011, pp. 1527–56. Scopus, doi:10.1177/0010414011399885. Full Text Open Access Copy



Selected Grants

Shaming States: Social Sanction and State Behaviour In World Politics awarded by (Principal Investigator). 2019 to 2021

Uncovering the effectiveness of strategies of influence awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2014 to 2018

Mechanisms of Influence: the case of human trafficking awarded by (Principal Investigator). 2012 to 2016

Analyzing the Effects on International Election Monitoring awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2006 to 2009

Soft Balancing: Explaining the Transatlantic Crisis awarded by Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2004 to 2006