rePost: Democracy and accountability: The perverse effects of term limits | vox – Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists

Some thoughts:

+ This is good and bad dependig as usual on the person in power.

+ Good people would mean better or at least mroe vigorous implementation of needed but unpopular or important but hard to enforce regulations or laws.

+ Not so good people throw caution to the wind and exercise extreme corruption etc. Reminds me of how Governor Generals of the Philippines were described (see Noli Me Tangere) during thier last months in their commission.

+ This is important because this means we need a way of contra-balancing the effects. Maximizing the effects of good people and minimizing the effects of not so good people.

+ Makes me think that countries with no strong term limits but great independent institutions (independent non partisan military, proper separation/balance of power among institutions) are would be better governed but have leaders locked eternally into a public relations campaign. (If I am not mistaken Tony Blair’s and England is an example of this, Japan too I think)

+ This makes me think that among real democracies the Philippines systems is ill-designed. You have a fix term limit where you have no re-elections, and weak institutions. You get a recipe where most people who become president are corrupt, and they throw caution to the wind because they do not have to revalidate their power from the people because they are not re-elected.

thanks to Mark Thoma here:

from here:


Our analysis of the impact of term limits on inter-state conflicts confirms that domestic political institutions can have a crucial impact on economic and political outcomes. In democracies without term limits, periodic elections provide the means to hold opportunistic political leaders accountable for their foreign policy decisions. In autocracies and democracies with term limits, in which there is no need for “contract renewal”, politicians can adopt unpopular policies with no repercussion on whether or not they are able to stay in power. Some caution is clearly warranted in interpreting these results. Though our analysis shows that political systems in which the leaders are subject to re-election are good for peace, this should not be taken to imply that democratisation of dictatorships will necessarily lead to peace. The take-home message, as pointed out by Daron Acemoglu, Davide Ticchi and Andrea Vindigni recently on Vox, is that policymakers should carefully consider the complexity of the political environment when trying to shape or guide the transition to democracy.

Democracy and accountability: The perverse effects of term limits | vox – Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists.