Recruitment and Retention in U.S. Legislatures
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIV:173-208

Questions of recruitment and retention of legislators are central to our understanding of the nature of representative democracy. This essay traces the dominant perspectives and issues involved in the study of legislative candidates and legislative careers in the United States. A central theme of this essay is that congressional and state legislative scholars have tended to ignore each other’s work. This is largely due to a difference in the unit of analysis, wherein congressional scholars concentrate on the individual while state legislative scholars concentrate on the institution. But two recent events in state legislatures have the potential to provide linkages between congressional and legislative research. The first is the increase in careerism among state legislators. The second is the effect of term limits.

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