Mathew D. McCubbins

Mathew D. McCubbins

Ruth F. DeVarney Professor of Political Science in Trinity College of Arts and Sciences

External Address: 
Duke Law School 210 Science Dr, Duke Box 90362, Durham, NC 27708
Internal Office Address: 
Duke Law School, Duke Box 90362, Durham, NC 27708
(919) 613-7006
Political Economy

McCubbins is perhaps best known for the argument that legislative majorities, whether they be the dominant legislative party or a coalition parties governments (even supported minority coalitions) usurp the power resident in the legislature for their own purposes. Within busy legislatures, legislation is controlled as a consequence of a party or coalition of parties capturing control of key legislative assets, such as congressional committee in the US Congress, which because of the rules have blocking (or veto power) and thus serve as a gateway (or gate) to discussion of a bill by the full plenum. The legislative process is replete with gates that are both subtle and gross. All other powers to set the agenda arise as a consequence of creating and controlling the legislative process.


  • Ph.D., California Institute of Technology 1983

McCubbins, M. "The Legislative Design of Regulatory Structure." American Journal of Political Science 29 (1985): 721-748.

McCubbins, M, and Schwartz, T. "The Politics of Flatland." Public Choice 46 (1985): 45-60.

Cox, GW, McCubbins, MD, and Sullivan, T. "Policy choice as an electoral investment." Social Choice and Welfare 1.3 (October 1, 1984): 231-242. Full Text

McCubbins, M, and Schwartz, T. "Congressional Oversight Overlooked: Police Patrols vs. Fire Alarms." American Journal of Political Science 28 (1984): 165-179.

McCubbins, M. "Constituency Influence on Legislative Policy Choice." Quality and Quantity 18 (1984): 299-319.

McCubbins, M. "Policy Components of Arms Competitions." American Journal of Political Science 27 (1983): 385-406.