By Peter Clark

The process of Implicit Logrolling (Buchanan & Tullock,1962) is a form of indirect vote-trading that heavily relies on the bundling of wedge issues. By way of tying specific groupings of policies to attract targeted demographics of voters to a political platform. This political strategy is especially effective in capturing the commitment of single-issue voters. These voters need to tacitly accept the rest of the policies on the political platform to have their one area of interest acknowledged. This is why implicit logrolling is such an effective mechanism in shaping the American political landscape.

Most analysts ignore how voters reconcile selecting programs and political candidates that hold logically inconsistent views. For example, an individual that defends abortion rights on the grounds of a bodily integrity argument concurrently favoring vaccine mandates. Here is where the Paradox of Implicit Logrolling comes in; voters then must rationalize these discrepancies due to the lack of logical consistency. In vote trading, the individual voter expects to make some concessions. However, when these concessions present logical and philosophical contradictions, few people question the conflict. In short, the paradox describes how people are willing to accept contrary political positions if parceled with a party or policy they favor.


An alternative label for this contradictory behavior might be "ideological logrolling" or perhaps "ideological rent-seeking" -- I coined the latter label to describe people who favor well-intentioned policies that actually don't work:

F.E. Guerra-Pujol · 1 Nov, 2021

Ideological logrolling, I like the sound of that title. However, I really hope this theory doesn't overlap too much with your theory of "Ideological rent-seeking". It's probably been about a year and a half since I have read that paper. I apologize if it does.

Peter Clark · 1 Nov, 2021
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Peter Clark



Published: 18 Sep, 2021

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