Pass a Law, Any Law, Fast! State Legislative Responses to the Kelo Backlash
42 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2007 Last revised: 17 Jun 2008
Date Written: June 17, 2008
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: Suggested Citation