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University of Colorado Denver

School of Public Affairs

David P. Carter




David Carter is a doctoral candidate, research assistant, and instructor 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 S​PA PhD Student Association.

​David is a 2015 NASPAA Staats Emerging Scholar.

David is a graduate of SPA's Master of Public Administration program. He holds a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree in sociology, a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology, and a minor in Spanish from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado.




David’s research sits at the intersection of public policy, public administration and management, and organization theories. He applies a variety of methodological approaches from directed qualitative content analysis to quantitative multilevel modeling.


2015. "Integrating Core Concepts from the Institutional Analysis and Development Framework for the Systematic Analysis of Policy Designs."​ Journal of Theoretical Politics

2015. "Assessing Policy Divergence: How to Investigate the Differences Between a Law and a Corresponding Regulation." Public Administration

2015. "The Composition of Policy Change: Comparing Colorado's 1977 and 2006 Smoking Bans." Policy Sciences

2014. "Capturing Structural and Functional Diversity through Institutional Analysis: The Mayor Position in City Charters." Urban Affairs Review

2013 "Assessing Rule Compliance and Robustness in Recreational Resource Management." Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning


Forthcoming. "The Institutional Analysis and Development Framework." American Governance.

Forthcoming. "The Design, Implementation, and Administration of U.S. Organic Food Policy." Routledge Handbook of Environmental Governance.

2014. "Common Pool Resources."  Oxford Bibligraphies.

2014. "Organic Food." Science and Politics: An A-to-Z Guide to Issues and Controversies.


David’s dissertation research draws from his work on a project examining; U.S. organic food regulatory design and administration (NSF grant no. 1124541). The dissertation appies regulatory administration, public and nonprofit management, and organization theories to understand how differences among the governmental, nonprofit, and private certifying agents accredited by the USDA's National Organic Program affect the administration of organic food regulations.

Sample Dissertation Papers

"Public, Nonprofit, and Private Sector Regulatory Approaches in Third-Party Regulatory Administration."​ Presented at the 2014 APPAM annual meeting.

"Who Knows Best? Public, Nonprofit, and Private Sector Expertise in the Administration of US Organic Regulations." Presented at the 2015 MPSA annual meeting.

"Service Diversification and Quality Differences among Public, Nonprofit, and Private Sector Third-Party Administrators of U.S. Organic Regulations."  Presented at the 2015 PMRA and APSA meetings.


Understanding policy design through institutional analysis. With several collaborators David has worked in the development policy document coding and analysis procedures, drawing conceptual and methodological inspiration from the Institutional Analysis and Development framework. An example research poster can be found here.

Exploration of semi-automated digital methods as an approach to public policy and management research. This research 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.

Using Ostrom's design principles to assess recreational resource co-management.  David’s MPA capstone applied common pool resource theory to assess a co-management arrangement of a popular rock climbing destination in Utah. A related study poster 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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