USC logo

Pamela Clouser McCann

Associate Professor

Ph.D. in Political Science and Public Health
University of Michigan

Sol Price School of Public Policy
Ralph and Goldy Lewis Hall, 201F
Los Angeles, CA 90089

Personal Website

Expertise: American political institutions, bureaucratic delegation, intergovernmental politics, legislative behavior, public policy, and policy diffusion

Pamela Clouser McCann, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. Dr. McCann previously served as an assistant professor of public affairs at the University of Washington.

Her research interests include U.S. political institutions, bureaucratic delegation, federalism, intergovernmental politics, legislative behavior, public policy, health policy, policy diffusion, state and local politics. She examines the influence of the states and state-level political institutions on national political maneuvering and policy choices. In particular, Dr. McCann focuses on the influence of policy actors’ intergovernmental context on legislative choices. Her recent work addresses the impact of the interaction of state and national political institutions on political choices and policy outcomes.

Dr. McCann received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, where she received the Gerald R. Ford Fellowship (2010-2011) and the Rackham Pre-Doctoral Fellowship (2009-2010). She also earned the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (2008-2009; 2004-2005), and named National Science Foundation IDEAS IGERT fellow (2006-2008).


2014-2015 Bedrosian Faculty Award

Policy Tools, Compromise, and Quarrels in the U.S. Congress

Pamela McCann and Daniel Magleby

Legislators encode their policy choices in the text of bills they propose, debate, and pass. This text, and the policy choices within it, reflect the preferences of the members whose support is required to pass a bill. Since both the House and the Senate must pass the same bill before it is presented to the president for possible signing, the textual choices made and the shared elements of House versus Senate bills provide us with a window to the policy conflict and compromise of a bicameral setting.

  • We characterize the nature of the bargains chambers strike in order to pass important legislation and consider the degree to which chambers diverge on initial offers as well as the conditions under which one chamber influences the final content of laws more so than the other chamber.
  • We rely on a novel dataset of the shared language in Senate and House bills and final enactments using existing plagiarism software.
  • We compare measures of policy consensus regions (the overlap between House and Senate language) and the degree to which a final law is uniquely a product of Senate choices or House choices.


Bertelli, A., Travaglini, G., & Clouser Mccann, P. (2019). Delegation, Collaborative Governance, and Nondistributive Policy: The Curious Case of Joint Partnerships in American Federalism. The Journal of Politics81(1), 377–384.

Bertelli, A., & McCann, P. (2017). Decentralizing Pork: Congressional Roll‐Call Voting, Decentralized Administration, and Distributive Politics. Legislative Studies Quarterly43(1), 69–100.

Mcann, Pamela J. Clouser (2016) The Federal Design Dilemma: Congress and Intergovernmental Delegation, Cambridge University Press.

McCann, P. J. C. (2015). The Strategic Use of Congressional Intergovernmental Delegation. The Journal of Politics, 77(3), 620-634.

McCann, P. J. C., Shipan, C. R., & Volden, C. (2015). Top-Down Federalism: State Policy Responses to National Government Discussions. Publius: The Journal of Federalism. First published online April 2, 2015, print forthcoming.

Bedrosian Center