Social Science Quarterly (University of Texas Press). Sep95, Vol. 76 Issue 3, p594-606. 13p. 1 Chart, 1 Graph.
POLITICAL campaigns, TERM limits (Public office), INCUMBENCY (Public officers), and GUIDELINES
The article investigates the effect of term limits and spending limits on Congressional turnover of the United States. It includes impact of rule changes on campaign expenditures and the likelihood of reelection; passage of the Campaign Reform Act of 1972; effect of financial rules on the incumbency advantage. Public concern over a seemingly intransigent and insensitive Congress has rekindled interest in raising the rate of turnover in that body. This paper investigates two approaches; term limits and spending limits, and how campaign strategies are affected when such rules are in place. Viewing congressional campaigns as rent-seeking games, strategic responses to certain rule changes are explored theoretically. These theoretical results then guide some empirical measures using data from the 1980 elections. Term limits reduce the benefits of holding office, which, in turn, reduce the effort put forth in capturing that office. This effect however, is asymmetrical with incumbents responding more than challengers. Spending limits disproportionately affect challengers, but when long-term effects are considered the "incumbency protection" they provide is much smaller than previously suggested.