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Neil Pinney, George Serra and Dalene Sprick, "The Costs of Reform: Consequences of Limiting Legislative Terms of Service," Party Politics, 10 (January, 2004), 69-84.

First Paragraph:
In a democracy, citizens are expected to be interested in politics and to participate in political affairs. Berelson et al. (1954) note that citizen interest and participation can take various forms, such as reading and listening to campaign materials, working for a candidate or a party, arguing politics, donating money and voting. Another important means of participation is the willingness of citizens to compete for public office. Electoral policy establishes the legitimacy and structure of competition in the electoral process. Consequently, changing the rules of elections can make it either more likely or less likely that particular groups or types of candidates will have a competitive advantage (Finer, 1975). The purpose of this research is to discern more explicitly the impact of term limits on intra-party electoral competition and campaign expenditures in state legislative contests.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Average number of candidates in district primary
Table 2. Voting competition index
Figure 1. Comparison of primary expenditures in Michigan and Ohio
Table 3. Average party expenditures per district
Appendix 1. Term limited states by year enacted and year of impact

First Two Paragraphs of Concluding Section:
We have focused on intra-party legislative contests at the district level, comparing pre-reform and post-reform term limit periods. In particular, we pose the critical question of whether the implementation of term limit reforms has had any systematic effect on candidates' willingness and ability to compete in primary elections. Using indicators of electoral competition and campaign expenditures in intra-party legislative contests, we analyse the 1994 and 1998 Republican Party and Democratic Party primary elections in Michigan and Ohio. The former state has implemented term limits and experienced mandatory retirement of state legislators while the latter state has yet to implement term limits and therefore has not forced retirement on state legislatures.

The data do not support the conventional view that limiting terms of service for legislators increases electoral competition, and thus, the cost of running a campaign, by increasing the pool of candidates who run for office. The situation is indeed quite the opposite, with implementation of term limits reducing the level of electoral competition overall in intra-party contests, while increasing average party campaign expenditures per candidate. Although electoral competition is attenuated for both political parties, intra-party competition in Democratic primaries declines more precipitously than in Republican primaries after the implementation of term limits. This finding is interesting and stimulates thinking about the differential effects of term limits across political parties.