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Term Limit Extension And Electoral Participation. Evidence From A Diff-In-Discontinuities Design At The Local Level In Italy

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  • Marco Alberto De Benedetto

    ()

  • Maria De Paola

    () (Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF, Università della Calabria)

Abstract

We study the effect of term limits on voter turnout in local Italian elections. Since 2014 the Italian law allows mayors in municipalities with a population size lower than 3,000 inhabitants to re-run for a third term, whereas mayors in cities with a number of residents above the cutoff still face a two-term limit. The introduction of the reform permits us to implement a difference-in-discontinuities design exploiting the before/after with the discontinuous policy change. We find that voters negatively react to the introduction of the reform and in particular electoral participation decreases by about 5 percentage points in municipalities eligible to the treatment compared to municipalities in the control group. This negative effect is essentially driven by a decrease in the political competition. We also find that relaxing term limits does not improve the quality of politicians running for election.

Suggested Citation

  • Marco Alberto De Benedetto & Maria De Paola, 2018. "Term Limit Extension And Electoral Participation. Evidence From A Diff-In-Discontinuities Design At The Local Level In Italy," Working Papers 201802, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF.
  • Handle: RePEc:clb:wpaper:201802
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Diff-in-discontinuities; Voter Turnout; Political Competition;

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H70 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - General

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