Law & Economics Working Papers
California’s legislative term limits have dramatically reduced campaign expenditures. Real expenditures during the three general elections after the term limits initiative passed in 1990 were lower than in even 1976. This drop has occurred at the same time that races have become closer contests and more candidates are running for office. By any measure, term limits have coincided with large changes in the level of political competition, even before term limits have forcibly removed a single politician from office. The changes are so large that more incumbents are being defeated, races are closer, more candidates are running, and fewer single candidate races than occur at any other time during our sample period from 1976 to 1994.
John Lott & Kermit Daniel, "Term Limits and Electoral Competitiveness: California's State Legislative Races" (Coase-Sandor Institute for Law & Economics Working Paper No. 47, 1997).