About the Department

Daniel Carpenter

Daniel Carpenter

Freed Professor of Government
American Politics
American political development, petitions, regulation, bureaucratic politics

On Leave Academic Year 2015 - 2016

Daniel Carpenter is Allie S. Freed Professor of Government in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Director of the Social Science Academic Ventures Program at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University. In Spring 2014 he was a visiting professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, France.  He graduated from Georgetown University in 1989 with distinction in Honors Government and received his doctorate in political science from the University of Chicago in 1996. He taught previously at Princeton University (1995-1998) and the University of Michigan (1998-2002). He joined the Harvard University faculty in 2002. Dr. Carpenter mixes theoretical, historical, statistical and mathematical analyses to examine the development of political institutions, particularly in the United States.  He focuses upon public bureaucracies and government regulation, particularly regulation of health and financial products. His dissertation received the 1998 Harold D. Lasswell Award from the American Political Science Association and as a book - The Forging of Bureaucratic Autonomy: Reputations, Networks and Policy Innovation in Executive Agencies, 1862-1928 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001) - was awarded the APSA's Gladys Kammerer Prize as well as the Charles Levine Prize of the International Political Science Association. His recently published book on pharmaceutical regulation in the United States is entitled Reputation and Power: Organizational Image and Pharmaceutical Regulation at the FDA (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010), and received the 2011 Allan Sharlin Memorial Award from the Social Science History Association. 

Professor Carpenter has held fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, the Brookings Institution and the Santa Fe Institute. He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (National Institutes of Health), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (Scholars in Health Policy 1998-2000, Investigator Award in Health Policy Research 2004-2007), the Alfred Sloan Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation and the Safra Center for Ethics. In the past few years, Professor Carpenter is the winner of both the 2011 Herbert Simon Award of the Midwest Political Science Association for a scholar "who has made a significant career contribution to the scientific study of bureaucracy", as well as the 2011 David Collier Award of the American Political Science Association for career contributions to qualitative and multi-method research.  From 2011 to 2013 he was a visiting researcher and visiting professor (part-time) at the Institut d'Études Politiques at the Université de Strasbourg in France.

In addition to his ongoing teaching and scholarship on the political economy of government regulation and health, Professor Carpenter has recently launched a long-term project on petitioning in North American political development, examining comparisons and connections to petitioning histories in Europe and elsewhere.  Representative publications include "When Canvassers Became Activists: Antislavery Petitioning and the Political Mobilization of
American Women" (with Colin D. Moore), American Political Science Review (2014) and "Party Emergence through Petitions: The Whigs and the Bank War of 1832-1834" (with Benjamin Schneer), Studies in American Political Development (2015).  He hopes to draw upon the millions of petitions in local, state and federal archives to create an educational, genealogical and scholarly resource for citizens, students and scholars.  Together with colleagues at Harvard, Radcliffe and the Massachusetts Archives, he launched the Digital Archive of Massachusetts Antislavery and Anti-Segregation Petitions in 2015.

Email Address


Web Site

Daniel Carpenter Website



Office Locations

1737 Cambridge Street, CGIS Knafel Building 405, Cambridge, MA 02138



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