Partisan Effects of Legislative Term Limits


Term limits remain a popular policy reform and have generated a great deal of scholarship as a result. Although many predicted that term limits would benefit the Republican party, the literature finds no marked partisan effects, possibly because termed-out legislators have largely been replaced by co-partisans. This article demonstrates that term limits have indeed had partisan effects—just not on electoral outcomes. Term limits have caused a significant reallocation of institutional power from Democrats to Republicans (as measured by contributions from access-oriented interest groups), in large part because they have removed more senior Democrats than Republicans. The partisan effects of term limits therefore point to the institutional value of seniority.

Legislative Studies Quarterly 39(3):407-429
Andrew B. Hall
Andrew B. Hall
Professor of Political Science

Professor of Political Science at Stanford University