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

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  • Timothy Besley
  • Anne Case

Abstract

This paper uses data from U.S. states to investigate whether electoral accountability affects economic policy choices. We set up a model in which the possibility of being re-elected may curtail opportunistic behavior by incumbent governors. We find that facing a binding term limit affects choices on taxes, expenditures, state minimum wages and mandates on workers' compensation. Such effects are found also to vary with the party affiliation of the incumbent. The Democratic party also appears to suffer at the polls following the term of a lame-duck, Democratic incumbent.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4575
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    1. 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.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures

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