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Term limits and electoral accountability

Smart, Michael and Sturm, Daniel M. (2006) Term limits and electoral accountability. PSPE working papers, 03-2006. Department of Government, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Abstract

Periodic elections are the main instrument through which voters can hold politicians accountable. From this perspective term limits, which restrict voters’ ability to reward politicians with re-election, appear counterproductive. We show that despite the disciplining effect of elections, term limits can be ex ante welfare improving from the perspective of voters. By reducing the value of holding office term limits can induce politicians to implement policies that are closer to their private preferences. Such “truthful” behavior by incumbents in turn results in better screening of incumbents. We show that the combination of these two effects can strictly increase the utility of voters.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL: http://www2.lse.ac.uk/government/PSPE/WorkingPaper...
Additional Information: © 2006 The Authors
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JC Political theory
Sets: Departments > Government
Research centres and groups > Political Science and Political Economy Group
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Identification Number: 03-2006
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2009 14:27
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/25479/

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