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University of Colorado Denver

School of Public Affairs

David P. Carter




David Carter received his PhD from the University of Colorado Denver’s School of Public Affairs (SPA) in 2016 and subsequently joined the Univerisity of Utah's Department of Political Science​ as an Assistant Professor of Public Policy. ​​During his SPA PhD training, David served as Managing Editor for the Policy Studies Journal and an affiliate of the SPA’s Workshop on Policy Process Research.

​David is a 2015 NASPAA Staats Emerging Scholar.

David is also 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.


2016. "Public, Nonprofit, and For-Profit Sector Regulatory Approaches in Third-Party Regulatory Administration." Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory.

2016. "An Institutional and Opinion Analysis of Colorado's Hydraulic Fracturing Disclosure Rule​." Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning.

2016. "Integrating Core Concepts from the Institutional Analysis and Development Framework for the Systematic Analysis of Policy Designs."​ Journal of Theoretical Politics.

2016. "Capturing Structural and Functional Diversity through Institutional Analysis: The Mayor Position in City Charters."Urban Affairs Review.

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.

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


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

2016. "Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD)." American 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 - "What's the Difference? Public, Nonprofit, and Private Administration of U.S. Organic Food Regulation" - 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.

DCarter Dissertation.pdfD.P. Carter Dissertation: "What's the Difference? Public, Nonprofit, and Private Administration of U.S. Organic Food Regulations"


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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