Michael C. Herron <Michael. C. Herron@Dartmouth.edu> is Associate Professor of Government, 6108 Silsby Hall, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755. Kenneth W.
Term Limits and Pork
Article first published online: 7 JAN 2011
2006 Comparative Legislative Research Center at the University of Iowa
Legislative Studies Quarterly
Volume 31, Issue 3, pages 383–403, August 2006
How to Cite
HERRON, M. C. and SHOTTS, K. W. (2006), Term Limits and Pork. Legislative Studies Quarterly, 31: 383–403. doi: 10.3162/036298006X201850
- Issue published online: 7 JAN 2011
- Article first published online: 7 JAN 2011
We describe a model of electoral selection and legislative policy choice that explores the effects of term limits on legislative spending. In the model, self-interested voters in a collection of districts prefer representatives who deliver pork over representatives who maximize aggregate social welfare. Term limits can, in some cases, inhibit voters from selecting representatives who deliver particularistic benefits, and, in these cases, term limits reduce pork spending. On the other hand, when pork is extremely socially inefficient, representatives who want to deliver pork to their districts have incentives to refrain from doing so to reduce future pork in other districts. In this scenario, term limits actually prevent legislators from promoting future spending moderation and thus paradoxically increase pork spending.