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  • © 2023

Navigating Term Limits

The Careers of State Legislators

Palgrave Macmillan

Authors:

  • Includes data from four original datasets in addition to interviews with legislators

  • Examines 12 states with term limits, with interviews from Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Ohio

  • Outlines different types of term limits and how they have changed legislative careers

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Table of contents (8 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xviii
  2. Introducing Term Limits

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 1-1
    2. Term Limits and Their Many Theories

      • Jordan Butcher
      Pages 3-19
    3. The Push and Promise of Term Limits

      • Jordan Butcher
      Pages 21-48
  3. Changing Careerism

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 49-49
    2. Legislative Careerism and Growing Ambition

      • Jordan Butcher
      Pages 51-88
    3. Declining Turnover and Legislative Leave

      • Jordan Butcher
      Pages 89-118
    4. Legislative Leadership

      • Jordan Butcher
      Pages 119-155
  4. The Implications of Term Limits

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 157-157
    2. Changes to Internal Deliberation: Committees

      • Jordan Butcher
      Pages 159-191
    3. Changes to External Relations: State Agencies

      • Jordan Butcher
      Pages 193-217
    4. Conclusions

      • Jordan Butcher
      Pages 219-231
  5. Back Matter

    Pages 233-261

About this book

This book considers whether term limits help curb careerism in the US state legislatures. Term limits are popular among the public and have been overwhelmingly successful once on the ballot. Despite this, very little is known about the long-term effects of these institutional rules. If term limits were sold to the public to remove entrenched incumbents from office, how do they alter the careers of legislators and what are the implications? Butcher suggests that term limits do not end careers but instead, lawmakers have become more creative in their pursuits. She finds that the presence of term limits has created a new career system unique to those states that have limits. In each chapter, there is a quantitative analysis, followed by qualitative interviews to better understand the underlying motivations of members.

Reviews

Legislative term limits have now been around for more than three decades. That means we finally have enough data on them to figure out their impact on legislatures and legislators. Jordan Butcher has gathered and analyzed voluminous data on term limits to figure out how they impact the way legislative chambers operate and how lawmakers navigate their careers. This book is a timely and important contribution to our understanding of term limits.-Peverill Squire, Professor of Political Science, University of Missouri, Columbia.


This book provides the most comprehensive examination of state legislative term limits to date. Dr. Butcher’s four original datasets explore the effects of both lifetime and consecutive year limits on legislative careers, bill passage and legislative leadership across 20 years and 17 states. She examines more than 9,500 legislative careers and 270,000 bills, combining interviews to add nuance and credibility to her findings. This book is a tour de force of state legislative research.

-Marjorie Sarbaugh-Thompson, Professor of Political Science, Wayne State University


Dr. Jordan Butcher’s book is a must read for any current, former or aspiring lawmaker and anyone interested in the public policy arena. I began my legislative career as term limits began in our state and have experienced every angle of this significant change and this book helps to tell the story of what lawmakers anticipated the outcome would be. I’ve read many articles, publications, and other books and this is one of the only comprehensive comparative works that addresses the broad impact of term limits.

- Shane Broadway, Former Speaker of the Arkansas General Assembly. 

Authors and Affiliations

  • Department of Political Science, Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, USA

    Jordan Butcher

About the author

Jordan Butcher is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Arkansas State University, USA. Her research in state legislative politics lies at the intersection of intuitional design and political careerism.

 

Bibliographic Information

Buy it now

Buying options

eBook USD 99.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Hardcover Book USD 129.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Other ways to access