Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date

Spring 3-2023

Working Paper Number


JEL Codes

K4, N5, O1, Q1


This paper explores the politics of eminent domain, using a specific historical episode: the enactment of the new California constitution in 1879. It presents evidence that the failure of a constitutional provision that would have codified eminent domain powers for water development resulted from a complex interchange of economic interests among farmers, miners, and urban residents. This evidence was manifested in delegate behavior on the floor of the constitutional convention in 1878, including various roll-call votes, which are subjected to an econometric analysis. The results have implications for the interpretation of legislative eminent domain decisions, and the degree to which economic development processes are shaped by the institutional environment in which they occur.

Included in

Economics Commons