IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Does Electoral Accountability Affect Economic Policy Choices? Evidence from Gubernatorial Term Limits

  • Besley, Timothy
  • Case, Anne

This paper analyzes the behavior of U.S. governors from 1950 to 1986 to investigate a reputation-building model of political behavior. The authors argue that differences in the behavior of governors who face a binding term limit and those who are able to run again provides a source of variation in discount rates that can be used to test a political agency model. They find evidence that taxes, spending, and other policy instruments respond to a binding term limit if a Democrat is in office. The result is a fiscal cycle in term-limit states that lowers state income when the term limit binds. Copyright 1995, the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: full text
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to JSTOR subscribers. See for details.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 110 (1995)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 769-98

in new window

Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:110:y:1995:i:3:p:769-98
Contact details of provider: Web page:

Order Information: Web:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Becker, Gary S, 1983. "A Theory of Competition among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400, August.
  2. Barro, Robert J., 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Scholarly Articles 3451400, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1983. "Incentive Effects of Terminations: Applications to the Credit and Labor Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 912-27, December.
  4. James M. Poterba, 1993. "State Responses to Fiscal Crisis: The Effects of Budgetary Institutionsand Politics," NBER Working Papers 4375, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Peltzman, Sam, 1992. "Voters as Fiscal Conservatives," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 327-61, May.
  6. Coate, Stephen & Morris, Stephen, 1995. "On the Form of Transfers in Special Interests," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1210-35, December.
  7. Alesina, Alberto & Roubini, Nouriel, 1992. "Political Cycles in OECD Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(4), pages 663-88, October.
  8. George J. Stigler, 1971. "The Theory of Economic Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 2(1), pages 3-21, Spring.
  9. James Adams & Lawrence Kenny, 1989. "The retention of state governors," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 62(1), pages 1-13, July.
  10. Alesina, Alberto & Tabellini, Guido, 1990. "A Positive Theory of Fiscal Deficits and Government Debt," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(3), pages 403-14, July.
  11. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1992. "Incumbent Behavior: Vote Seeking, Tax Setting and Yardstick Competition," NBER Working Papers 4041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1990. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 21-36, March.
  13. Lucas, Robert Jr. & Stokey, Nancy L., 1983. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy in an economy without capital," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 55-93.
  14. Nordhaus, William D, 1975. "The Political Business Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(2), pages 169-90, April.
  15. Lott, John R, Jr & Davis, Michael L, 1992. " A Critical Review and an Extension of the Political Shirking Literature," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 74(4), pages 461-84, December.
  16. Roubini, Nouriel & Alesina, Alberto, 1992. "Political Cycles in OECD Economies," Scholarly Articles 4553025, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  17. Crain, W Mark & Tollison, Robert D, 1977. "Attenuated Property Rights and the Market for Governors," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(1), pages 205-11, April.
  18. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1989. "Management entrenchment : The case of manager-specific investments," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 123-139, November.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:110:y:1995:i:3:p:769-98. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Anna Pollock-Nelson)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.