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David King Photo
Senior Lecturer in Public Policy
Assistant: Rosita Scarfo

David C. King is Senior Lecturer in Public Policy at The Harvard Kennedy School and Faculty Chair of Harvard’s Bi-Partisan Program for Newly Elected Members of the U.S. Congress. Professor King joined the faculty in 1992, focusing on the institutions of governing in the United States. He currently teaches courses on Congress, interest groups and public policy. He also chairs Harvard’s Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government.

Professor King is the author, co-author, and co-editor of three books, and he has published in a range of journals, including The American Political Science Review, and The Journal of Politics. His current research project explores the history and consequences of “transparency” reforms in the U.S. Congress.

In the wake of the 2000 presidential elections, Professor King directed the Task Force on Election Administration for the National Commission on Election Reform, chaired by former presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. That effort culminated in the landmark Help America Vote Act. After a problem-filled 2006 election in Boston, Professor King evaluated and oversaw a new management structure for Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. He regularly speaks about U.S. elections to a variety of audiences and advises election-related non-profits. Professor King is the Board Chair for the pro-democracy group, Initiatives for China.

Academic Journal/Scholarly Articles


Book Chapters

HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series

Research Papers/Reports



Magazine and Newspaper Articles

Transparent Engagement

Harvard Kennedy School is proud of its energetic involvement in the world. To better understand how to solve public problems by improving policy and leadership, we engage directly with policymakers, public leaders, governments, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit businesses whose activities affect those problems. However, we recognize that such engagement can raise questions about perceived and potential conflicts of interest, so we disclose publicly the key professional activities of our faculty outside the Kennedy School.

Outside Professional Activities For David King

Unpaid Board Chair, NGO: Initiatives for China. Role includes helping founder, and HKS graduate, Jianli Yang, negotiate relationships with State and Local governmental leaders in the United states.  Engagement on a twice-a-month basis throughout the academic year. This notice was updated in June 2020, and the relationship with Initiatives for China will presumably continue through AY21.

Contracted Speaker, Non-Profit University: Indiana University. Periodically speak to a group of international politicians/bureaucrats for an Executive Education program administered by Indiana University. Engagement one day per academic year. This notice was updated in June 2020, and the relationship with Indiana University will presumably continue through AY21.

Contracted Speaker, For-Profit: Knovva Academy.  Periodically speak to a gathering of high school students for a "simulated United Nations" event in Boston. This program is administered by Knovva Academy, a for-profit start-up focusing on integrative skill-building through a UN simulation.  Engagement in 2019 was two academic days, and we anticipate a similar engagement in 2020.  This notice was updated in June 2020, and the relationship with Knovva Academic will presumably continue through AY21.



Phone: 617-495-1665
Assistant: Rosita Scarfo


Cities & Communities
Democracy & Governance
Public Leadership & Management

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