Disentangling Accountability and Competence in Elections: Evidence from U.S. Term Limits

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Disentangling Accountability and Competence in Elections: Evidence from U.S. Term Limits

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dc.contributor.author Alt, James E.
dc.contributor.author Rose, Shanna
dc.contributor.author Bueno de Mesquita, Ethan
dc.date.accessioned 2012-09-25T19:10:00Z
dc.date.issued 2011
dc.identifier.citation Alt, James, Ethan Bueno de Mesquita, and Shanna Rose. 2011. Disentangling accountability and competence in elections: Evidence from U.S. term limits. Journal of Politics 73(1): 171-186. en_US
dc.identifier.issn 0022-3816 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:9639960
dc.description.abstract We exploit variation in U.S. gubernatorial term limits across states and time to empirically estimate two separate effects of elections on government performance. Holding tenure in office constant, differences in performance by reelectioneligible and term-limited incumbents identify an accountability effect: reelection-eligible governors have greater incentives to exert costly effort on behalf of voters. Holding term-limit status constant, differences in performance by incumbents in different terms identify a competence effect: later-term incumbents are more likely to be competent both because they have survived reelection and because they have experience in office. We show that economic growth is higher and taxes, spending, and borrowing costs are lower under reelection-eligible incumbents than under term-limited incumbents (accountability), and under reelected incumbents than under first-term incumbents (competence), all else equal. In addition to improving our understanding of the role of elections in representative democracy, these findings resolve an empirical puzzle about the disappearance of the effect of term limits on gubernatorial performance over time. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Government en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher Cambridge University Press en_US
dc.relation.isversionof doi:10.1017/S0022381610000940 en_US
dash.license OAP
dc.title Disentangling Accountability and Competence in Elections: Evidence from U.S. Term Limits en_US
dc.type Journal Article en_US
dc.description.version Accepted Manuscript en_US
dc.relation.journal Journal of Politics en_US
dash.depositing.author Alt, James E.
dc.date.available 2012-09-25T19:10:00Z

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  • FAS Scholarly Articles [7219]
    Peer reviewed scholarly articles from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Harvard University

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