Reexamining the Institutional Effects of Term Limits in U.S. State Legislatures

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Abstract

Research on term limits suggests that they have substantial consequences for the power of legislatures vis-à-vis the executive and interest groups and for the relationship between leaders and rank-and-file members within a chamber. Existing work, however, has not accounted for the actual power of relevant state actors. We contribute to this research by examining the effect of term limits on the influence of institutional actors conditional on the existing political power structure in a state. The inclusion of controls for the direct and moderating effect of actual institutional power suggests some significant extensions of previous findings regarding the institutional effects of term limits.

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