The Political Economy of the Virtual Wall

18 Pages Posted: 1 Jan 2020 Last revised: 18 Feb 2020

See all articles by Christopher J. Coyne

Christopher J. Coyne

George Mason University - Department of Economics; George Mason University - Mercatus Center

Nathan Goodman

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Date Written: November 29, 2019

Abstract

In addition to using physical walls the United States government has attempted to restrict movement across the U.S.-Mexico border by constructing “virtual walls.” Virtual walls involve applying advanced surveillance and detection technologies to border enforcement. The U.S. government has invested billions of dollars in numerous initiatives intended to establish a virtual wall along the Mexican border. We explore two negative consequences of virtual walls — the entanglement of private defense firms with government through crony relationships and the violation of the liberties of both non-U.S. and U.S. persons.

Keywords: border security, surveillance, virtual walls, rent seeking, civil liberties, cronyism, immigration

JEL Classification: D63, D72, D73, J15, K37, K42

Suggested Citation

Coyne, Christopher J. and Goodman, Nathan, The Political Economy of the Virtual Wall (November 29, 2019). GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 20-03. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3495305 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3495305

Christopher J. Coyne (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.ccoyne.com/

George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://ppe.mercatus.org/scholars/christopher-coyne

Nathan Goodman

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

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