Voter decisions on eminent domain and police power reforms
One unresolved issue arising from the use of eminent domain power involves how the perceived benefits and costs of eminent domain power affect people’s positions on the reform of eminent domain and police power law. The paper addresses this issue by estimating a voting model that explains voters’ decisions on eminent domain and police power reform referenda in the US. Estimates indicate that eminent domain referendum outcomes hinged on voters’ fundamental values and ideology, and voters’ immediate self-interest. Voters’ fundamental values and ideology affects referendum outcomes insofar as educational attainment in a county has a statistically significant effect on support for reform. Despite the greater incidence of eminent domain in low income and poorer communities, success of reform referenda in this study was found to be greater in counties with higher incomes and lower unemployment rates. This implies that whatever asymmetry exists in the exercise of eminent domain law across income groups does not affect voter reaction to eminent domain reforms. Moreover, counties with high unemployment rates consider the larger potential benefits from urban renewal projects in vote decision-making providing a link between self-interest and voting behavior.
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