Term Limits and Electoral Competitiveness: Evidence from California's State Legislative Races
California's legislative term limits have dramatically reduced campaign expenditures. Real expenditures during the three general elections after the term limits initiative passed in 1990 were lower than in even 1976. This drop has occurred at the same time that races have become closer contests and more candidates are running for office. By any measure, term limits have coincided with large changes in the level of political competition, even before term limits have forcibly removed a single politician from office. The changes are so large that more incumbents are being defeated, races are closer, more candidates are running, and fewer single candidate races than occur at any other time during the authors' sample period from 1976 to 1994. Copyright 1997 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
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