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Long live the doge? Death as a term limit on Venetian chief executives

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  • Daniel J. Smith

    (Middle Tennessee State University)

  • George R. Crowley

    (Troy University)

  • J. Sebastian Leguizamon

    (Western Kentucky University)

Abstract

Can an electorate use the projected life expectancy of a lifetime-appointed chief executive to enforce binding, informal term limits? Informal term limits based on the life expectancy of a chief executive candidate at election would enable an electorate to exercise discretion in adjusting tenure lengths to minimize expected turnover and tenure-length costs, while also providing a strictly binding term limit: death. We provide a detailed historical case study of Venice from 1172 to 1797, when the ruling patricians utilized informal term limits on their chief executive, the doge, relying on the projected life expectancy of ducal candidates.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel J. Smith & George R. Crowley & J. Sebastian Leguizamon, 2021. "Long live the doge? Death as a term limit on Venetian chief executives," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 188(3), pages 333-359, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:188:y:2021:i:3:d:10.1007_s11127-020-00829-y
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-020-00829-y
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic history; Public choice; Term limits; Venice;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • N4 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation

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