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Self-imposed term limits

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  • Edward Glaeser

Abstract

In “Reconciling voters' behavior with legislative term limits,” Dick and Lott argue that since more senior representatives are better at rent-seeking, there is an inefficient tendency to re-elect incumbents. In their model, term limits are preferred collectively by constituencies, even though no constituency would independently oust its incumbent representative. However, many term limits are unilaterally self-imposed (in particular the 22nd amendment limiting presidents' terms to two), and their model cannot explain these limits. In this comment, I suggest that term limits may be self-imposed by risk-averse voters, who prefer cycling between left and right wing candidates to a once-and-for-all election that imposes a candidate of a single ideology on the entre electorate. The market failure that makes term limits helpful is that out of power minorities cannot bribe the median voter. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Suggested Citation

  • Edward Glaeser, 1997. "Self-imposed term limits," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 93(3), pages 389-394, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:93:y:1997:i:3:p:389-394 DOI: 10.1023/A:1017981411977
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Richard G. Anderson, 2006. "Replicability, real-time data, and the science of economic research: FRED, ALFRED, and VDC," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan, pages 81-93.
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    Cited by:

    1. Conconi, Paola & Sahuguet, Nicolas, 2009. "Policymakers' horizon and the sustainability of international cooperation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 549-558.
    2. Smart, Michael & Sturm, Daniel M., 2013. "Term limits and electoral accountability," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 93-102.
    3. Edward López & R. Jewell, 2007. "Strategic institutional choice: Voters, states, and congressional term limits," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 132(1), pages 137-157, July.
    4. Mark Schelker, 2009. "Auditor Terms and Term Limits in the Public Sector: Evidence from the US States," CREMA Working Paper Series 2009-19, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    5. Mark Schelker, 2012. "The influence of auditor term length and term limits on US state general obligation bond ratings," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 150(1), pages 27-49, January.
    6. Smart, Michael & Sturm, Daniel M., 2013. "Term limits and electoral accountability," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 46860, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

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