David R. Mayhew

For the NASCAR driver, see David Mayhew (racing driver).

David R. Mayhew (born May 18, 1937) is a political scientist and Sterling Professor in the Political Science Department at Yale University. He is the author of eight influential books on American politics, and is widely considered one of the leading scholars on the American Congress.[1] Mayhew has been a member of the Yale faculty since 1968. He has also taught at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst College, Oxford University, and Harvard University.[2]

In Congress: The Electoral Connection, Mayhew argued that much of the organization of the United States Congress can be explained as the result of re-election seeking behavior by its members. In Divided We Govern, he disputed the previously accepted notion that, when Congress and the presidency are controlled by different parties, less important legislation is passed than under unified government. The book won the 1992 Richard E. Neustadt prize.[3]

His most recent book, Partisan Balance: Why Political Parties Don't Kill the U.S. Constitutional System (Princeton University Press, 2011), contends that majoritarianism largely characterizes the American system. The wishes of the majority tend to nudge institutions back toward the median voter. Partisan Balance won the 2011 Leon D. Epstein Outstanding Award from the American Political Science Association.[4]

Mayhew earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1964, and his B.A. from Amherst College in 1958. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[5] In 2002, he received from the American Political Science Association the James Madison Award, which, awarded triennelly, "recognizes an American political scientist who has made a distinguished scholarly contribution to political science."[6] In 2004, he received the Samuel J. Eldersveld Award for lifetime achievement also from the American Political Science Association.[7] In 2007, Mayhew was elected to the American Philosophical Society,[8] and on April 30, 2013, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.[9]




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