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Term Limit Extension and Electoral Participation: Evidence from a Diff-in-Discontinuities Design at the Local Level in Italy

Marco Alberto De Benedetto () and Maria De Paola ()
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Marco Alberto De Benedetto: University of Messina

No 11865, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: We study the effect of term limits on voter turnout in local Italian elections. Since 2014 the Italian law allows mayors in municipalities with a population size lower than 3,000 inhabitants to re-run for a third term, whereas mayors in cities with a number of residents above the cutoff still face a two-term limit. The introduction of the reform permits us to implement a difference-in-discontinuities design exploiting the before/after with the discontinuous policy change. We find that voters negatively react to the introduction of the reform and in particular electoral participation decreases by about 5 percentage points in municipalities eligible to the treatment compared to municipalities in the control group. This negative effect is essentially driven by a decrease in the political competition. We also find that relaxing term limits does not improve the quality of politicians running for election.

Keywords: diff-in-discontinuities; voter turnout; political competition (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C21 D72 H70 J78 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-pol and nep-ure
Date: 2018-09
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Working Paper: TERM LIMIT EXTENSION AND ELECTORAL PARTICIPATION. EVIDENCE FROM A DIFF-IN-DISCONTINUITIES DESIGN AT THE LOCAL LEVEL IN ITALY (2018) Downloads
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