Heather Elko Mckibben

Heather Mckibben Portrait

Position Title
Associate Professor

580 Kerr Hall
1 Shields Avenue, Davis CA 95616


  • Ph.D., Political Science, University of Pittsburgh, 2008
  • M.A., Political Science, University of Pittsburgh, 2005
  • B.S., Political Science and Music, University of Pittsburgh, 2002


Professor McKibben is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Davis. She has been at Davis since 2009, after receiving her Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh in 2008 and holding a postdoc position in the Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance at Princeton University in the 2008-2009 academic year. In her research, Professor McKibben is interested in understanding when, why and how different countries negotiate with each other. When and why will countries come to the negotiating table to resolve problems instead of resorting to more coercive measures? What types of strategies do they use in those negotiations, and why do those strategies differ from country to country and negotiation to negotiation? When and why will countries be able to reach cooperative agreements, and what are the resulting agreements likely to look like? Examining international negotiations in a wide variety of settings, Professor McKibben seeks to answer these types of questions.

Research Focus

Professor McKibben’s research is in the field of international relations, with a focus on international cooperation and negotiations. Her projects analyze multiple facets of these topics, such as the pre-negotiation process, the strategies used in international negotiations, and characteristics of the resulting agreements. She studies these topics in a variety of settings, including the European Union, the World Trade Organization, the United Nations, and climate change negotiations.


  • McKibben, H. E. (2015) State Strategies in International Bargaining: Play by the Rules or Change Them? (Cambridge Studies in International Relations Book 134, Cambridge University Press)
  • McKibben, H. E. (2016) To link or not to link? Agenda change in international bargaining, British Journal of Political Science 46(2): 371-393.
  • McKibben, H. E., & Western, S. (2014) Levels of linkage: Across-agreement v. within-agreement explanations of consensus formation among states, International Studies Quarterly 58(1): 44-54.
  • McKibben, H. E. (2013) The effects of power and structure on state bargaining strategies, American Journal of Political Science 57(2): 411-427.
  • McKibben, H. E. (2010) Issue characteristics, issue linkage, and states' choice of bargaining strategies in the European Union, Journal of European Public Policy 17(5): 694-707.
  • McKibben, H. E., Bearce, D., & Floros, K. (2009) The shadow of the future and bargaining cooperation in the context of a three-phase international cooperation problem, Journal of Politics 71(2): 719-732.


Professor McKibben teaches international relations/political science classes. She teaches both an introductory level class on international relations, as well as more advanced courses on international cooperation and institutions.


  • 2015-2016. Individual Research Grant. Institute for Social Science, UC Davis. ($5,000)
  • 2013-2014. UC Davis Hellman Fellowship Award. UC Davis. ($20,000)
  • 2016-2017, 2014-2015, 2013-2014. Small Grant in Aid of Research. Academic Senate of UC Davis. ($2,000 each)
  • 2009-2010. Institute of Governmental Affairs Junior Faculty Research Grant. UC Davis. ($3,000)
  • 2008-2009. Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance, Princeton University.