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Disclaimer. Don't rely on these old notes in lieu of reading the literature, but they can jog your memory. As a grad student long ago, my peers and I collaborated to write and exchange summaries of political science research. I posted them to a wiki-style website. "Wikisum" is now dead but archived here. I cannot vouch for these notes' accuracy, nor can I say who wrote them.
Kousser. 2005. Term limits and the dismantling of state legislative professionalism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
RESEARCH QUESTION: How do term limits (X1) and legislative resources (X2: staff, salary, session length) affect the form (Y2) and function (Y1) of a legislature?
X1: TERM LIMITS
They don't necessarily eliminate reelection concerns, because term-limited politicians tend to seek higher offices after serving in the legislator. [But why doesn't he consider how this changes incentives? After all, a legislator with ambitions for higher office would provide different policies (i.e. more public goods) than a nonambitious legislator (who will provide pork). See my comments on Carey et al 2003.]
X2: LEGISLATIVE RESOURCES (professionalism)
A continuous variable consisting of three factors: staff size, salary, and session length.
Y1: FUNCTION: "TRANSFORMATIVE" LEGISLATURES
A "transformative" legislature leaves a profound stamp on legislative outcomes. This has two aspects:
Y2: FORM: INTERNAL POWER DYNAMICS
Each of these 5 aspects of the dependent variables is treated separately in the chapters tha follow.
BIG POINTS: Modeling budget negotiations as a divide the dollar game, Kousser hypothesizes and finds that less experienced and less professional state legislatures will have less influence over the budget process than the governor [he looks at medical and education spending, since they are discretionary]. Term limits make legislators less patient and unwilling to draw out the process, giving the governor more influence. Inexperienced legislatures also don't have the political expertise necessary to accurately anticipate how patient the governor is.
X1: Effect of Term Limits
X2: Effect of Professionalism:
Questions: Do the institutional effects change under deficit conditions? Would the differences be significant?
Research by the same authors
Research on similar subjects
Kousser, Thad (author) • American Politics • State Politics (U.S.) • Term Limits and Professionalism • Legislatures
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