Term limits and voter turnout in presidential democracies:an empirical analysis
This article considers the relationship between term limits and voter turnout in presidential democracies. Based on our analysis of a cross-national dataset of presidential elections held between 1950 and 2004, we find that voter turnout is lower in elections in which term limits prevent an incumbent president from running for office. We further demonstrate that term limits contribute to the sharpest declines in voter turnout among those states at lower levels of relative democratic achievement. We suggest that recent theoretical work on both retrospective voting and clientelism offer plausible explanations for these empirical findings.
KeywordsTerm limits Voter turnout Presidential democracies
- Box, George, and Gwilym Jenkins. 1970. Time Series Analysis: Forecasting and Control. San Francisco: Holden-Day.Google Scholar
- Burnham, Walter Dean. 1987. The Turnout Problem. In Elections American Style, ed. A.James Reichley. Washington: Brookings Institution.Google Scholar
- Dahlberg, Stefan, Sören Holmberg, Bo Rothstein, Anna Khomenko, and Richard Svensson. 2016. The Quality of Government Basic Dataset, version Jan16. University of Gothenburg: The Quality of Government Institute. http://www.qog.pol.gu.se. Accessed 24 May 2016.
- De Benedetto, Marco Alberto, and Maria De Paola. 2013. The Impact of Incumbency on Turnout: Evidence from Italian municipalities. IZA Discussion Paper No. 7612. Institute for the Study of Labor.Google Scholar
- Downs, Anthony. 1957. An Economic Theory of Democracy. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
- Fiorina, Morris P. 1981. Retrospective Voting in American National Elections. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
- Fund, John H. 1990. Term Limitation: An Idea Whose Time Has Come. Cato Institute Policy Analysis. No. 141Google Scholar
- Gaddie, Ronald Keith, and Charles S. Bullock. 2000. Elections to Open Seats in the U. S. House. New York: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
- Gleditsch, Kristian S. 2002. Expanded Trade and GDP Database. http://privatewww.essex.ac.uk/~ksg/exptradegdp.html. Accessed 24 May 2016.
- International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA). Voter Turnout Database. http://www.idea.int/vt/index.cfm. Accessed 24 May 2016.
- Kam, Cindy D., and Robert J. Franzese Jr. 2007. Modeling and Interpreting Interactive Hypotheses in Regression Analysis. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
- Marshall, Monty G. and Keith Jaggers. 2012. Polity IV Project: Political Regime Characteristics and Transitions, 1800-2014. http://www.systemicpeace.org/polityproject.html. Accessed 24 May 2016.
- Nohlen, Dieter. 2005a. Elections in the Americas: A Data Handbook, Vol. 1. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Nohlen, Dieter. 2005b. Elections in the Americas: A Data Handbook, Vol. 2. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Nohlen, Dieter, Florian Grotz, and Christof Hartmann. 2002. Elections in Asia and the Pacific: A Data Handbook. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Wooldridge, J.M. 2002. Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar