Public Choice

, Volume 133, Issue 3, pp 479-494

First online:

Legislative term limits and state spending

  • H. Abbie ErlerAffiliated withDepartment of Political Science, Kenyon College Email author 

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Supporters of legislative term limits often claim that they will lower state spending levels. Using fiscal data from 48 states from 1977 to 2001, this paper finds little support for this assertion. Instead, this analysis finds that states with term limits have higher spending levels than states without term limits. These results suggest that term limits give legislators greater incentives to deviate from socially optimal fiscal policy by altering the legislative environment in which such policy is formulated.


Term limits State spending Budgeting Institutions