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Pass a Law, Any Law, Fast! State Legislative Responses to the Kelo Backlash

42 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2007 Last revised: 17 Jun 2008

Edward J. Lopez

Western Carolina University

R. Todd Jewell

Texas State University, San Marcos - Department of Finance and Economics

Noel D. Campbell

University of Central Arkansas

Date Written: June 17, 2008

Abstract

The Supreme Court in Kelo v. City of New London left protection of property against takings for economic development to the states. Since Kelo, thirty-seven states have enacted legislation to update their eminent domain laws. This paper is the first to theoretically and empirically analyze the factors that influence whether, in what manner, and how quickly states change their laws through new legislation. Fourteen of the thirty-seven new laws offer only weak protections against development takings. The legislative response to Kelo was responsive to measures of the backlash but only in the binary decision whether to pass any new law. The decision to enact a meaningful restriction was more a function of relevant political economy measures. States with more economic freedom, greater value of new housing construction, and less racial and income inequality are more likely to have enacted stronger restrictions, and sooner. Of the thirteen states that have not updated, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Mississippi are highly likely to do so in the future. Hawaii, Massachusetts and New York are unlikely to update ever if at all.

Keywords: eminent domain, state legislation, property rights, Kelo v. City of New London, limited dependent variables, duration analysis

JEL Classification: K11, H7, D7

Suggested Citation

Lopez, Edward J. and Jewell, R. Todd and Campbell, Noel D., Pass a Law, Any Law, Fast! State Legislative Responses to the Kelo Backlash (June 17, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1022385 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1022385

Edward J. Lopez (Contact Author)

Western Carolina University ( email )

College of Business
Forsyth 224C
Cullowhee, NC 28723
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.edwardjlopez.com

R. Todd Todd Jewell

Texas State University, San Marcos - Department of Finance and Economics ( email )

San Marcos, TX 78666
United States

Noel D. Campbell

University of Central Arkansas ( email )

Conway, AR 72032
United States
(501)852-7743 (Phone)

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