Term Length and Political Performance
We evaluate the effects of the duration of legislative terms on the performance of legislators. We exploit a natural experiment in the Argentine House of Representatives where term lengths were assigned randomly. Results for various objective measures of legislative output show that longer terms enhance legislative performance. We use a second experiment in the Argentine Senate to determine whether our results are specific to a particular chamber and a particular time. The results from the Senate reinforce the idea that longer terms enhance legislative productivity. Our results highlight limits to classic theories of electoral discipline (Barro 1973, Ferejohn 1986) predicting that shorter terms, by tightening accountability, will incentivize hard work by politicians. We discuss and test possible explanations. Our results suggest that the "accountability logic" is overcome by an "investment logic."
|Date of creation:||Nov 2008|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Term Length and The Effort of Politicians, Review of Economic Studies 78(4), October 2011, (with Martín Rossi)|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
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.:
- Ryan Amacher & William Boyes, 1978. "Cycles in senatorial voting behavior: implications for the optimal frequency of elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 33(3), pages 5-13, January.
- John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
- Schultz, Christian, 2008. "Information, polarization and term length in democracy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1078-1091, June.
- Dickson, Eric S & Shepsle, Kenneth A, 2001. "Working and Shirking: Equilibrium in Public-Goods Games with Overlapping Generations of Players," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(2), pages 285-318, October.
- 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.
- 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.
- Daniel Diermeier & Michael Keane & Antonio Merlo, 2004.
"A Political Economy Model of Congressional Careers,"
1387, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Daniel Diermeier & Michael Keane & Antonio Merlo, 2005. "A Political Economy Model of Congressional Careers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 347-373, March.
- Daniel Diermeier & Michael Keane & Antonio Merlo, 2002. "A Political Economy Model of Congressional Careers," PIER Working Paper Archive 04-037, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Sep 2004.
- John Lott, 1987. "Political cheating," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(2), pages 169-186, January.
- Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1993.
"Does Electoral Accountability Affect Economic Policy Choices? Evidence from Gubernatorial Term Limits,"
NBER Working Papers
4575, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1995. "Does Electoral Accountability Affect Economic Policy Choices? Evidence from Gubernatorial Term Limits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 769-798.
- David S. Lee & Enrico Moretti & Matthew J. Butler, 2004. "Do Voters Affect or Elect Policies? Evidence from the U. S. House," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(3), pages 807-859.
- Kalt, Joseph P & Zupan, Mark A, 1990. "The Apparent Ideological Behavior of Legislators: Testing for Principal-Agent Slack in Political Institutions," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 103-31, April.
- Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 2004.
"The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government,"
Economics Working Papers
0020, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
- 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.
- Eric Maskin, 2003. "The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government," Theory workshop papers 505798000000000076, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Robert Barro, 1973. "The control of politicians: An economic model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 19-42, March.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14511. 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: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.