IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Term limits and electoral accountability

  • Michael Smart
  • Daniel Sturm

This Paper analyses the impact of term limits in a political agency model. We find that term limits reduce the value of holding office. This reduction in the re-election incentive can induce politicians to implement policies that are closer to their own private preferences. Such ‘truthful’ behaviour by incumbents will in turn result in better screening of incumbents whose preferences do not correspond to voters’ preferences. We show that these effects can make a two-term limit, which is the empirically most frequent restriction on tenure, ex ante welfare-improving from the perspective of voters. We present evidence from gubernatorial elections that the model’s main empirical implication is supported by the data.

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: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/20283/
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History in its series Economic History Working Papers with number 20283.

as
in new window

Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:wpaper:20283
Contact details of provider: Postal: LSE, Dept. of Economic History Houghton Street London, WC2A 2AE, U.K.
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7955 7084
Web page: http://www.lse.ac.uk/economicHistory/
More information through EDIRC

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. John Lott, 1987. "Political cheating," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(2), pages 169-186, January.
  2. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 2003. "Political Institutions and Policy Choices: Evidence from the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(1), pages 7-73, March.
  3. Timothy Besley & Michael Smart, 2005. "Fiscal restraints and voter welfare," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3769, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. Besley, Timothy & Case, Anne, 1995. "Incumbent Behavior: Vote-Seeking, Tax-Setting, and Yardstick Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 25-45, March.
  5. Besley, Timothy & Case, Anne, 1995. "Does Electoral Accountability Affect Economic Policy Choices? Evidence from Gubernatorial Term Limits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 769-98, August.
  6. Ferraz, Claudio & Finan, Frederico S., 2008. "Motivating Politicians: The Impacts of Monetary Incentives on Quality and Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 3411, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. John A List & Daniel M Sturm, 2006. "How Elections Matter: Theory and Evidence from Environmental Policy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1249-1281, November.
  8. Jeffrey C. Ely & Juuso Valimaki, 2002. "Bad Reputation," Discussion Papers 1348, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  9. Cho, In-Koo & Kreps, David M, 1987. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(2), pages 179-221, May.
  10. Chari, V V & Jones, Larry E & Marimon, Ramon, 1997. "The Economics of Split-Ticket Voting in Representative Democracies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 957-76, December.
  11. Reed, W Robert & Schansberg, D Eric, 1994. "An Analysis of the Impact of Congressional Term Limits," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 32(1), pages 79-91, January.
  12. James Adams & Lawrence Kenny, 1989. "The retention of state governors," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 62(1), pages 1-13, July.
  13. Stefano Gagliarducci & Tommaso Nannicini, 2008. "Do Better Paid Politicians Perform Better? Disentangling Incentives from Selection," Working Papers 346, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  14. Konrad, Kai A. & Torsvik, Gaute, 1997. "Dynamic incentives and term limits in bureaucracy regulation," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 261-279, May.
  15. Daniel Diermeier & Michael Keane & Antonio Merlo, 2004. "A Political Economy Model of Congressional Careers," Discussion Papers 1387, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  16. 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.
  17. Besley, Timothy J. & Burgess, Robin, 2001. "The Political Economy of Government Responsiveness: Theory and Evidence from India," CEPR Discussion Papers 2721, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Glaeser, Edward L, 1997. " Self-Imposed Term Limits," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 93(3-4), pages 389-94, December.
  19. Adams, James D & Kenny, Lawrence W, 1986. "Optimal Tenure of Elected Public Officials," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(2), pages 303-28, October.
  20. Lopez, Edward J, 2003. " Term Limits: Causes and Consequences," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 114(1-2), pages 1-56, January.
  21. Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 2004. "The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1034-1054, September.
  22. Franklin, Daniel & Westin, Tor, 1998. " Predicting the Institutional Effects of Term Limits," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 96(3-4), pages 381-93, September.
  23. Kenneth Rogoff, 1987. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," NBER Working Papers 2428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. DeBacker, Jason, 2011. "The price of pork: The seniority trap in the U.S. House," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1-2), pages 63-78, February.
  25. Lott, John R, Jr & Bronars, Stephen G, 1993. " Time Series Evidence on Shirking in the U.S. House of Representatives," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 76(1-2), pages 125-49, June.
  26. Banks, Jeffrey S. & Sundaram, Rangarajan K., 1998. "Optimal Retention in Agency Problems," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 293-323, October.
  27. Stasavage, David, 2004. "Open-Door or Closed-Door? Transparency in Domestic and International Bargaining," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(04), pages 667-703, October.
  28. Robert Barro, 1973. "The control of politicians: An economic model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 19-42, March.
  29. Bernhardt, Dan & Dubey, Sangita & Hughson, Eric, 2004. "Term limits and pork barrel politics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2383-2422, December.
  30. Ernesto Dal Bó & Martín A. Rossi, 2011. "Term Length and the Effort of Politicians," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(4), pages 1237-1263.
  31. Stephen Morris, 2001. "Political Correctness," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(2), pages 231-265, April.
  32. Edward Glaeser, 1997. "Self-imposed term limits," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 93(3), pages 389-394, December.
  33. Peltzman, Sam, 1987. "Economic Conditions and Gubernatorial Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 293-97, May.
  34. Dick, Andrew R. & Lott, John Jr., 1993. "Reconciling voters' behavior with legislative term limits," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 1-14, January.
  35. Buchanan, James M & Congleton, Roger D, 1994. " The Incumbency Dilemma and Rent Extraction by Legislators," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 79(1-2), pages 47-60, April.
  36. Joseph M. Johnson & W. Mark Crain, 2004. "Effects of Term Limits on Fiscal Performance: Evidence from Democratic Nations," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 119(1_2), pages 73-90, 04.
  37. Daniel, Kermit & Lott, John R, Jr, 1997. " Term Limits and Electoral Competitiveness: Evidence from California's State Legislative Races," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 90(1-4), pages 165-84, March.
  38. Alexander Tabarrok, 1994. "A Survey, Critique, and New Defense of Term Limits," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 14(2), pages 333-350, Fall.
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:ehl:wpaper:20283. 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: (LSERO Manager on behalf of EH Dept.)

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.