Self-imposed term limits
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
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