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, and Rodriguez, D. "What is New in the New Statutory Interpretation? Introduction to The Journal of Contemporary Legal Issues Symposium." Journal of Contemporary Legal Issues 14 (2005): 535-547.

McCubbins, M, Gerber, E, and Lupia, A. "When Does Government Limit the Impact of Voter Initiatives? The Politics of Implementation and Enforcement." Journal of Politics 66 (2004): 43-68.

McCubbins, M, and Cox, G. "Theories of Legislative Organizations." American Political Science Association - Comparative Politics Newsletter (2004).

McCubbins, M, Neto, O, and Cox, G. "Agenda Power in Brazil's Comara dos Deputados, 1989 to 1998." World Politics 55 (2003).

McCubbins, M, and Cox, G. "A Pracis on Legislative Leadership." Extensions: Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center (2003).

McCubbins, M, and Lupia, A. "A Response to Austen-Smith." Public Choice 106 (2001): 183-189.

Lupia, A, and McCubbins, MD. "Representation or abdication? How citizens use institutions to help delegation succeed." European Journal of Political Research 37.3 (January 1, 2000): 291-307. Full Text

McCubbins, M, Cox, G, and Masuyama, M. "Agenda Power in the Japanese House of Representatives." Japanese Journal of Political Science 1 (2000): 1-21.

McCubbins, M. "The Political Origins of the Administrative Procedure Act." Journal of Law, Economics and Organizations 15 (1999): 180-217.

McCubbins, M, and Lupia, A. "Representation or Abdication: How Citizens Use Institutions to Make Their Agents Accountable." European Journal of Political Research 37 (1999): 291-307.