Working Papers

  • “Term Limits and Strategic Challenger Entry.”
    • Abstract: I develop a political agency model with strategic challengers to examine the accountability effects of term limits in the presence of strategic challenger entry. Analysis of the game reveals that term limits may lead strong challengers to delay entering, preferring to run in an open seat race over running against an Incumbent. This challenger behavior leads the incumbent to exert less effort while in office under certain conditions. However, this strategic delay behavior disappears when term limits are removed, thereby also removing this concern about accountability. This contributes to our understanding of how term limits interact with, and potentially interfere with, political accountability when challengers make strategic entry decisions.
  • Dark Money and Voter Learning” (with Keith E. Schnakenberg and Ian R. Turner). Under review.
    • Abstract: We provide a model of dark money in elections. An ideologically extreme donor with private information about candidate ideology and quality can advertise on behalf of a candidate. Advertising reveals information about candidate quality to voters, who can learn from either donor-funded or neutral advertising. Voters update negatively about candidate ideology when ads are known to be donor-funded. Dark money suppresses source information and allows donors to advertise candidate quality while simultaneously concealing the ideological motivations behind ad funding. However, dark money leads voters to become skeptical of all advertising, which can disadvantage donors.
  • “Legislative Term Limits and Variation in State Intergovernmental Transfers.”
    • Abstract: State transfers provide local governments with revenues that are significant in both magnitude and impact. Likewise, these transfers are a significant expense for state governments. This state aid funds, among other things, education, public health, and welfare programs. Given the importance of these funds to local governments, it is important to understand how institutional choices may affect the distribution of aid. I use data on state intergovernmental transfers to county-areas from 1982–2012 to analyze the relationship between term limits and variation in transfers. Using a difference-in-differences style design (two-way fixed effects regression), I show that both the adoption (when term limits become law) and implementation (when they remove a legislator from office) of legislative term limits are associated with greater within-state variation in transfers to county areas.

Works in Progress

  • “The Weight of Precedent: the Two-Term Tradition and Norm Violations in the United States Presidency” (with Daniel A.N. Goldstein).

  • “Term Limits and Special Interest Groups.”