The Track Record on Takings Legislation: Lessons from Democracy's Laboratories

62 Pages Posted: 6 Jun 2008

See all articles by John D. Echeverria

John D. Echeverria

Vermont Law School

Thekla Hansen-Young

affiliation not provided to SSRN


This report by the Georgetown Environmental Law & Policy Institute, entitled "The Track Record on Takings Legislation: Lessons from Democracy's Laboratories," examines the experiences of Florida, Oregon, and several other states with legislation implementing the property rights agenda. The report is the first comprehensive effort to systematically identify and evaluate the on-the-ground consequences of so-called takings "compensation" laws. The major findings of the report are that the takings agenda has undermined community protections by forcing a roll back of existing legal rules and/or by exerting a chilling effect on new legislative activity, special interests such as developers and timber companies have been the primary beneficiaries of takings legislation, the takings laws have fomented and exacerbated neighbor-neighbor conflicts over land use issues, the takings agenda has conferred large windfalls on certain owners either in the form of taxpayer-funded awards or special exemptions from the rules that apply to the rest of the community, and the property rights agenda has undermined the democratic process. Contrary to a common argument made by proponents of this type of legislation, requiring the government to pay to regulate does not lead government officials to make a more nuanced appraisal of the costs and benefits of regulations, apparently because the salience of fiscal costs to government officials far outweighs the relatively more diffuse political benefits of community and homeowner protection.

Keywords: takings, property rights, state legislation, cost internalization

Suggested Citation

Echeverria, John D. and Hansen-Young, Thekla, The Track Record on Takings Legislation: Lessons from Democracy's Laboratories. Georgetown Public Law Research Paper No. 1138017. Available at SSRN: or

John D. Echeverria (Contact Author)

Vermont Law School ( email )

68 North Windsor Street
P.O. Box 60
South Royalton, VT 05068
United States

Thekla Hansen-Young

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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