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date: 22 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses logrolling, the process whereby people trade votes or support on different matters to produce a prearranged outcome. Although the term has negative connotations in popular discourse, it is an essential part of the legislative process. Some logrolls are explicit, where legislators come to an agreement to trade votes. However, logrolling also covers many other political phenomena where the vote trading is implicit, such as party platforms and coalition agreements. In fact, from a social choice point of view, logrolling is similar to coalition formation or voting on multiple, interdependent issues. Whether logrolling produces an efficient outcome depends on whether the logroll is “comprehensive,” taking into account all external costs, as opposed to being a series of decentralized vote trades. Political institutions are important in facilitating these broad logrolls and making them stick over time. Such institutions include political parties, committee systems, and coalition agreements.

Keywords: logrolling, coalitions, institutions, parties, voting, legislatures

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