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Eminent Domain, Private Property, and Redevelopment: An Economic Analysis

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Eminent domain has become part of the lexicon of economic development policy. As the courts have tolerated increasingly broad definitions of the public purpose clause of the Fifth Amendment, state and local governments have seized on opportunities to expand their own power of land and property within their jurisdictions. As a result, property rights no longer serve as a meaningful check on government authority in land. Moreover, the willingness of the courts to allow private parties to benefit directly from this relaxed approach to property rights has allowed community officials to focus on the needs of specific clients, such as Costco, WalMart, IKEA, General Motors, or even ACE Hardware.