Masks are required as the campus is at red status.

David Mitchell, Ph.D.


Dr. David Mitchell earned his B.S. and M.A. in Economics from Clemson University and was awarded his Ph.D. from George Mason University. While at George Mason, he had the pleasure of studying under two Nobel Laureates: James Buchanan and Vernon Smith. Prior to earning his PhD, he worked in the insurance industry in both the United States and Germany. Before starting at UCA, he taught at St. Mary’s College of California, Washington and Lee University, and the University of South Alabama. At the University of Central Arkansas, Dr. Mitchell teaches Principles of Economics, Public Finance, and Econometrics. His research interests include state level public finance, and entrepreneurship policy. He has published in the Journal of Economic Education, the Cato JournalForbes, and the Southern Economic Journal. He and his family live in Little Rock.



Labor Market Regulation:

Policy Briefs:

Solving Arkansas’s Primary Care Problems by Empowering Nurse Practitioners by Dr. David Mitchell, Jordan Pfaff, and Zachary Helms

map iconDistribution of Primary Care Physicians and Alternatives in Arkansas

Like the rest of the country, Arkansas faces a growing shortage of primary health care providers. One of the most promising approaches to alleviating this shortage is to expand the use of nurse practitioners.  Nurse practitioners are trained to provide primary care and research shows to be as effective as physicians in providing primary care. Arkansas regulations restrict nurse practitioner’s ability to practice independently, diminishing nurse practitioners’ ability to meet Arkansans’ primary care needs.  This policy brief examines access to primary care in Arkansas, current restrictions on the use of nurse practitioners, and the magnitude of diabetes-related costs in the state that could be alleviated by expanding nurse practitioners’ scope of practice.

Policy Reviews:

Unnatural Rights in the Natural State by Dr. David Mitchell, Dr. Thomas Snyder, and Ms. Amy Fontinelle

In this review, the authors examine which occupations have the most burdensome licensing laws, how these restrictions affect job seekers, entrepreneurs, and consumers; and how we can reform the worst parts of these regulations.


  • ACRE Director Dr. David Mitchell and Policy Analyst Jacob Bundrick spoke in a 2 hour segment on the 96.5 FM Dave Elswick Show discussing Arkansas taxation, subsidies, and other state issues on July 13, 2017.


  • Better health care: empower nurse practitioners – An op-ed by UCA Associate Professor and ACRE Director Mitch Mitchell was published in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on December 31st. In the op-ed, Mitch writes that Arkansas faces a growing primary care shortage, but there is a solution – nurse practitioners.
  • Reform Occupational Licensing Rules – commentary published March 26, 2018, by ACRE Director Dr. David Mitchell and ACRE Scholar Dr. Tom Snyder in Arkansas Business News.
  • ACRE Director Dr. David Mitchell testified on February 16, 2017 before the Arkansas House Public Health, Welfare & Labor Committee regarding the potential savings the state could generate by allowing nurse practitioners to provide primary care to Medicaid patients. The bill, HB1182, failed to get the 11 votes it needed to pass, getting only 10 for and 9 against.
  • The Review of Scope of Practice Rules in Arkansas and Task Switching. Testimony (read here) and power point presentation (click here) from ACRE Director, Dr. David Mitchell, PhD for the Arkansas State Legislature Joint Performance Review Committee Meeting on November 9, 2015.
  • Dr. David Mitchell provided expert commentary in an amicus brief on occupational licensing regulations concerning hair braiders. Read the full amicus brief here.
  • For More Freedom op-ed published September 19, 2015 by ACRE Director Dr. David Mitchell. Arkansas Democrat Gazette and Arkansas Online.

Blog Posts:

Stimulate Job Creation and Economic Development while Preserving Health and Safety Standards HB-1158 – Commentary by Dr. David Mitchell, posted on the ACRE Review on July 10, 2015.

Taxes and Spending:

Academic Journal Publications:

The Determinants of the Severity of State Fiscal Crises by Dr. David T. Mitchell and Dean Stansel

During the most recent recession, many state governments faced substantial budget shortfalls. Those shortfalls are often blamed on external factors like the declining economy or reductions in federal aid. What politicians themselves do, especially during expansionary years—whether they enact spending increases, implement tax cuts, increase the size of their rainy day funds, or some combination thereof—is typically given less attention. We examine those factors and find that fiscal stress tends to be positively associated with spending growth, negatively associated with the size of rainy day funds, and not statistically significantly associated with the unemployment rate or federal aid.


  • ACRE Director Dr. David Mitchell and Policy Analyst Jacob Bundrick spoke in a 2 hour segment on the 96.5 FM Dave Elswick Show discussing Arkansas taxation, subsidies, and other state issues on July 13, 2017.
  • ACRE Director Dr. David Mitchell, Scholar Dr. Jeremy Horpedahl, and Policy Analyst Jacob Bundrick were guests on Newsradio 102.9 KARN on May 1, 2017 where they discussed Arkansas tax reform and other state issues.
  • ACRE Director Dr. David Mitchell and ACRE Scholar Jeremy Horpedahl were guests on the Paul Harrell Program on January 4, 2017. They discussed the complexity of Arkansas’s tax system and possibilities for tax reform.



ACRE Research Papers:

Improve Transparency in Arkansas: Every Arkansas County Needs Fiscal Data Available On-Line by Dr. David Mitchell and J.T. Schrock

After surveying each of Arkansas’s county’s web presence, there seems to be no consistent structure or consistent content to the websites. Many counties in Arkansas have no significant web presence at all. One-third of counties in Arkansas had no website for the county government in any form. Only a handful of the remaining counties had any fiscal and budgetary information available on their website. This research estimates that no more than 11 percent of the voting public are likely to see the Annual Financial Report under Arkansas’ current requirement. ACRE’s solution for this would be to increase county-government web presence for every county in Arkansas, especially including government financial data, available to the public anytime, on demand. This information should be of a quality and structure so that it could be easily understood by anyone with a reasonable background in reading financial or business data. Finally, the information should be complete and be inclusive of all areas of government responsible to the County Judge.

Blog Posts:

Arkansas County Government cannot be ‘Transparent’ when One-Third of them have no Web Presence by Dr. David Mitchell – posted on the ACRE Review on November 17, 2017.