Institutional Arrangements and Logrolling: Evidence from the European Union


  • Deniz Aksoy

  • Deniz Aksoy is Associate Research Scholar and Lecturer in the Department of Politics and the Woodrow Wilson School of International and Public Affairs, Princeton University, 302 Robertson Hall, Princeton, NJ 08544-1013 (

  • For their helpful comments on this project, I would like to thank Cliff Carrubba, David Carter, Lucy Goodhart, Bjørn Høyland, Joe Jupille, Tasos Kalandrakis, Amie Kreppel, Christiane Lemke, Bonnie Meguid, Sophie Meunier, Andrew Moravcsik, Mark Pollack, Bing Powell, Nils Ringe, Robert Thomson, and the participants of the Third Annual Princeton Workshop on European Integration and the participants of the 2011 New Frontiers of EU Institutions Workshop of University of Colorado at Boulder. Any problems in the article remain my responsibility. Data used in this article are available at


This article illustrates how voting rules used to pass a piece of legislation and the structure of the legislation, in terms of whether or not it has single or multiple issue dimensions, influence the frequency and the purpose of position changes in legislative negotiations. Through analysis of data on a set of legislative proposals negotiated in the European Union, I show that position changes are less common under unanimity rule than under majority rule. More importantly, I argue and show that when the negotiated legislation is multidimensional (i.e., contains multiple issues) and the voting rule is unanimity, position changing is a lucrative strategy for legislators. Multidimensional legislation creates opportunities for logrolling, and legislators’ veto power under the unanimity rule enables them to exploit these opportunities. Accordingly, under this scenario, legislators often engage in what I call a within-legislation logroll and secure favorable legislative outcomes.