Title

The Costs of Reform: Consequences of Limiting Legislative Terms of Service

Publication Date

2004

Document Type

Article

Abstract

The purpose of this research is to discern more explicitly how electoral reforms that limit terms of service impact on intra-party competition and campaign expenditures in US state legislative contests. Particularly, we are interested in whether term limits have differential effects across political parties, given the increasing number of open seats. Contrary to the conventional argument that term limits will invigorate competition, we find that increasing the number of candidates does not translate into more competitive races. In fact, the implementation of term limits results in a decrease in the level of electoral competition in open races, particularly for Democratic candidates. Moreover, this decrease in electoral competition is typically related to a dramatic increase in campaign expenditures in districts with open races.

Original Citation

Pinney N., Serra G., Sprick D. (2004). The Costs of Reform: Consequences of Limiting Legislative Terms of Service. Party Politics, 10(1), 69-84. https://doi.org/10.1177/1354068804039121