Cato Policy Analysis No. 413 August 31, 2001

Policy Analysis

Assessing the Term Limits Experiment
California and Beyond

by Patrick Basham

Patrick Basham is senior fellow in the Cato Institute's Center for Representative Government.


Executive Summary

The term limits movement is one of the most successful grassroots political efforts in U.S. history. From 1990 to 1995 legislative term limits passed in 18 states with an average of 68 percent voter support. By the end of 2000 those term limits had affected more than 700 legislative seats. Term limits were intended to end careerism among state legislators. Academic and other research on the effects of term limits suggests that they have substantially attained that goal. Current research supports the following conclusions:

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2001 The Cato Institute
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