Even if the holdout problem may impede the efficient use of land, it is not the reason for the historical development of government’s power of eminent domain. This power originated after the Norman conquest, when English kings granted stewardship of property to subordinates but maintained the right to take property back, and the barons sought to restrict the king's arbitrary takings.

Bruce L. Benson is a Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute and DeVoe L. Moore Professor and Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus of Economics, Florida State University.
Economic History and DevelopmentEconomyGovernment and PoliticsGovernment PowerLand UseLaw and LibertyProperty Rights, Land Use, and ZoningPublic ChoiceRegulation
Other Independent Review articles by Bruce L. Benson
Winter 2014/15 The New Scarlett Letter?: Negotiating the U.S. Labor Market with a Criminal Record
Fall 2014 Let’s Focus on Victim Justice, Not Criminal Justice
Winter 2006/07 The Market for Force
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