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University of Colorado Denver

School of Public Affairs

David P. Carter




David Carter is a doctoral candidate and research assistant at the University of Colorado Denver’s School of Public Affairs (SPA).  David is also Managing Editor for the Policy Studies Journal.  He serves as an organizing member of the SPA’s Workshop on Policy Process Research and an active member of the SPA PhD Student Association.  David is a 2015 recipient of NASPAA's Staats Emerging Scholars Award​.

David received a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree through the Accelerated MPA program at the SPA.  He holds a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree in sociology and a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology, as well as a minor in Spanish, from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado.   David was an intern, and subsequently a consultant, for the special district management firm Circuit Rider of Colorado, LLC.  Prior to joining the SPA PhD program, David worked as a rock climbing, mountaineering, and backpacking instructor for Outward Bound Wilderness, and as a course advisor.  He designed and helped implement Renaissance Elementary School’s outdoor education curriculum.




David’s research interests include the intersection of policy process, public management, and governance theories.  He applies a variety of methodological approaches including quantitative, qualitative, and digital methods.  David’s primary research, conducted under the advisement of Chris Weible, involves analysis of U.S. organic policy design and resulting impacts and outputs (NSF grant no. 1124541).  His dissertation research examines organizational differences among the governmental, nonprofit, and private certifying agents responsible for administering the quasi-voluntary National Organic Program.  A related paper, presented at the Midwest Political Science Association 2014 annual meeting, is available here.  A second paper, presented at the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management 2014 annual meeting, is available here.

Additional research efforts include:

The development of policy document coding and analysis procedures based on methods and concepts from the Institutional Analysis and Development framework.  A related study poster can be found here.  Resulting studies include a Public Administration article in which the method is applied to investigate similarities and divergences between an administrative rule and the preceding legislative law (available here), an Urban Affairs Review article which the method is applied to explore institutional diversity in city charters (available here), a Policy Sciences article in which the method is applied to document policy change (available here), and a forthcoming article in the Journal of Theoretical Politics.

Exploration of semi-automated digital methods as an approach to public policy and management research.  This includes analysis of online ‘issue networks’ by mapping organizational websites and the hyperlinks that connect them, and automated website content analysis.  A resulting sample paper can be found here.

David’s MPA capstone applied common pool resource theory to assess a co-management arrangement of a popular rock climbing destination in Utah.  A project description can be found here, a related study poster is available here, and the resulting article, published in the Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning can be found here.  A bibliography entry on common pool resources literature, co-authored by David and Tanya Hiekkila, is available here. | Physical Address: 1380 Lawrence St., Ste. 500  Denver, CO  80204 | Mailing Address: University of Colorado Denver, SPA, Campus Box 142, P.O. Box 173364, Denver, CO 80217-3364 | ph: 303.315.2228 | fax: 303.315.2229 | SPA Website Feedback

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