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 Cox, G. "Bonding, Structure, and the Stability of Political Parties: Party Government in the House." Legislative Studies Quarterly 19 (1994): 215-231.

McCubbins, M, and Lupia, A. "Who Controls? Information and the Structure of Legislative Decision Making." Legislative Studies Quarterly 19 (1994): 361-384.

McCubbins, M. "Positive Canons: The Role of Legislative Bargains in Statutory Interpretation." Georgetown Law Journal 80 (1992): 705-742.

McCubbins, M, and Cox, G. "On the Decline of Party Voting in Congress." Legislative Studies Quarterly 16 (1991): 547-570.

McCubbins, M. "The Theory of Interpretive Canon and Legislative Behavior." International Law and Economics Review 12 (1991): 235-238.

McCubbins, M, Noll, R, and Weingast, B. "Positive and Normative Models of Procedural Rights: An Integrative Approach to Administrative Procedures." Journal of Law, Economics and Organizations 6 (1990): 307-332.

McCubbins, M. "Slack, Public Interest, and Structure-Induced Policy." Journal of Law, Economics and Organizations 6 (1990): 203-212.

McCubbins, M. "Budget Policy-making and the Appearance of Power." Journal of Law, Economics, and Organizations 6 (1990): 133-153.

McCubbins, M. "Book Review." American Political Science Review (1990): 302-304. (Review)

McCubbins, M, Noll, R, and Weingast, B. "Structure and Process: Politics and Policy: Administrative Arrangements and the Political Control of Agencies." Virginia Law Review 75 (1989): 431-482.