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Drawing Your Senator from a Jar:Term Length and Legislative Behavior*

Rocio Titiunik ()

Political Science Research and Methods, 2016, vol. 4, issue 2, 293-316

Abstract: This paper studies the effects of term duration on legislative behavior using field experiments that occur in the Arkansas, Illinois, and Texas Senates in the United States. After mandatory changes in senate district boundaries, state senators are randomly assigned to serve either two-year or four-year terms, providing a rare opportunity to study legislative behavior experimentally. Despite important differences across states, when considered together, the results show that senators serving two years abstain more often, introduce fewer bills, and do not seem to be more responsive to their constituents than senators serving four years. In addition, senators serving shorter terms raise and spend significantly more money, although in those states where funds can be raised continuously during the legislative term, the differences arise only when the election is imminent.

Date: 2016
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