Property Takings in Developed Versus Developing Countries

Economics, Politics, and the Limits of the Holdout Problem

Property takings are common in the developing world. For example, despite Chinese reforms in 2003 to protect property rights, Chinese governments forced thousands of families to relocate during the buildup to the Beijing Olympics.

This essay compares government takings in the United States with takings in lesser-developed countries. Lopez argues that institutional differences account for important disparities in when and how government takings emerge and in the distributional effects these takings have on the rich and poor in the two contexts. Some differences that account for such disparities are the presence of the rule of law and ideologies that support takings under some circumstances but not others.


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