Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Notes on Term Limits

I wrote this up for Baseline Scenario comments, and decided it was useful enough to repost here despite its roughness.

   Democracy and accountability: The perverse effects of term limits
   The Effects of Legislative Term Limits (PDF)
   How Have Term Limits Affected the California Legislature? (PDF)
  The Political and Institutional Effects of Term Limits, Marjorie Sarbaugh-Thompson, Lyke Thompson, Charles D. Elder, Richard Elling, John Strate.
  Institutional change in American politics: the case of term limits, Karl T. Kurtz, Bruce E. Cain, Richard G. Niemi.

I have only read fragments of the books on Google.

The effects are not as dramatic as I had thought.  Pols still stay pols, though their career paths now include planned job changes.  Deep information on particular topics is less common.  The executive sometimes becomes more powerful.

Bottom line: term limits are not the transformative reform that term limit advocates hope for.  Term limits don't do what their proponents hope, and do do some of what their opponents fear.  In my view, pursuing term limits distracts from more effective changes. [Minor spelling error corrected on 2010.05.20]

No comments: