Daniel Carpenter

Allie S. Freed Professor of Government and Director, Center for American Political Studies, Harvard University

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About Daniel

Carpenter studies policy administration – how government agencies, combined with social and economic actors, convert laws into policy outcomes in American politics. He also studies health regulation, especially pharmaceutical regulation by the Food and Drug Administration, and financial regulation, especially consumer financial regulation. He has served on two U.S. Institute of Medicines (IOM) committees, one for implementation of the 2009 tobacco law, the other for global strategies for combating counterfeit and substandard medicines. He also regularly consults (entirely pro bono) with government agencies – the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the FDA, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy – in the development of new institutions and policy frameworks.

In the News

Opinion: "Here's What Pelosi Could Do if Republicans Tried to Manipulate the Presidential Election's Outcome," Daniel Carpenter, The Washington Post, August 5, 2020.
Opinion: "Scott Gottlieb and the Credibility of U.S. Therapeutics," Daniel Carpenter, The New England Journal of Medicine, March 29, 2017.
Opinion: "Lawmakers Must Ask Tough Questions about the 21st Century Cures Act," Daniel Carpenter (with Gregg Gonsalves and Joseph Ross), The Hill, November 21, 2016.
Quoted by Corydon Ireland in "The Rule-Breaking Sisters Grimke," Harvard Gazette, February 26, 2015.
Opinion: "What Piketty Missed: The Banks," Daniel Carpenter, Washington Monthly, February 23, 2015.
Research discussed by Corydon Ireland, in "Foreshadowing Feminism," Harvard Gazette, November 10, 2014.
Opinion: "Free the F.D.A.," Daniel Carpenter, New York Times, December 14, 2011.
Opinion: "Why Washington Always Works Down to the Wire," Daniel Carpenter, Washington Post, July 24, 2011.
Opinion: "Why Consumers Can’t Trust the Fed," Daniel Carpenter, New York Times, March 17, 2010.


"Is Health Politics Different?" Annual Review of Political Science 15 (2012): 287-311.
Offers an analysis of politics in the health domain, American and worldwide. Examines key puzzles of the health politics domain, such as the common and increasing role played by governments worldwide in reducing access inequalities to health services, and the large role played by expert administrative agencies.
"The Complications of Controlling Agency Time Discretion: Deadlines and FDA Drug Review" (with Jacqueline Chattopadhyay, Susan Moffitt, and Clayton Nall). American Journal of Political Science 56, no. 1 (January 2012): 98-114.
Studies the effect of deadlines upon regulatory decision making, showing that drug review deadlines at the FDA concentrated the timing of approvals and that the imposition of deadlines probably came at the expense of increased safety problems for drugs approved just before the deadline.
"A Unique Researcher Identifier for the Physician Payments Sunshine Act" (with Steven Joffe). Journal of the American Medical Association 305, no. 19 (May 2011).
Proposes better informatics so that citizens, consumers, patients, health care providers and universities can better track conflict-of-interest dynamics using a critical feature of the Affordable Care Act.
"The Contest of Lobbies and Disciplines: Financial Politics and Regulatory Reform in the Obama Administration" in Reaching for a New Deal: Obama’s Agenda and the Dynamics of U.S. Politics, edited by Lawrence Jacobs and Theda Skocpol (Russell Sage Foundation, 2011).
Gives a comprehensive and cogent analysis of the changes wrought by the Dodd-Frank Act in areas ranging from prudential regulation of capital requirements to consumer financial safety regulation. Examines the brief but real decline of the “gilded network” in American and global financial regulation and the possibilities for keeping the aperture for a more democratic participation open.
"Reputation and Precedent in the Bevacizumab Decision" (with Aaron Kesselheim and Steven Joffe). New England Journal of Medicine 365, no. 3 (2011).
Presents an argument about the importance of procedural and scientific consistency in the FDA’s decision. The essay recommended that the FDA remove the breast cancer indication for bevacizumab (Avastin), which the FDA did in November 2011, five months after the essay’s publication.
"Reputation and Power: Organizational Image and Pharmaceutical Regulation at the FDA" (Princeton University Press, 2010).
United States, focusing on the public reputation of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the different kinds of power that it exercises over the marketplace, over citizens and over science. Described as a “magisterial new history of the F.D.A.” by The New Yorker, Reputation and Power was awarded a four-star rating (highest possible) by the British Medical Journal and received the 2011 Allan Sharlin Award of the Social Science History Association for best book in social science history.