Title of Abstract

The Effect of Term Limits on Margin of Victory in Elections

Poster Number

083

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Department of Political Science

Faculty Mentor

Hye- Sung Kim, Ph.D

Abstract

This study examines the factors of electoral victory. In particular, it empirically tests whether having term limits on an executive’s time in office affects the margin of election victory by a candidate by using a panel data analysis on a dataset consisting of all countries for the time period between 1975 and 2015. The dependent variable measures the number of votes received in an election victory and the main independent variable measures whether or not a country has formal restraints on an executive’s term in office. This study finds that, on average, the winner of an election in a country with formal restraints on an executive’s term in office will receive 11.08 percent more votes than an election winner in a country without formal restraints on an executive’s term in office. This result was statistically significant, and appears to be robust to various specifications with a number of potential confounders. The findings of the study may imply that, in countries with term limits, elections may be much less competitive than in countries with no term limits; thus, challengers to incumbents may wish to consider this new information to reevaluate their prospective chances of victory before declaring their candidacy in elections.

Course Assignment

PLSC 350 -Kim

Previously Presented/Performed?

Midwest Political Science Association Conference, Chicago, Illinois, April 2018

Start Date

20-4-2018 2:15 PM

End Date

20-4-2018 4:15 PM

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Apr 20th, 2:15 PM Apr 20th, 4:15 PM

The Effect of Term Limits on Margin of Victory in Elections

Richardson Ballroom (DIGS)

This study examines the factors of electoral victory. In particular, it empirically tests whether having term limits on an executive’s time in office affects the margin of election victory by a candidate by using a panel data analysis on a dataset consisting of all countries for the time period between 1975 and 2015. The dependent variable measures the number of votes received in an election victory and the main independent variable measures whether or not a country has formal restraints on an executive’s term in office. This study finds that, on average, the winner of an election in a country with formal restraints on an executive’s term in office will receive 11.08 percent more votes than an election winner in a country without formal restraints on an executive’s term in office. This result was statistically significant, and appears to be robust to various specifications with a number of potential confounders. The findings of the study may imply that, in countries with term limits, elections may be much less competitive than in countries with no term limits; thus, challengers to incumbents may wish to consider this new information to reevaluate their prospective chances of victory before declaring their candidacy in elections.