On the determinants of optimal border enforcement
Guzman, M., Haslag, J. and Orrenius, P. (2008) On the determinants of optimal border enforcement. Economic Theory, 34 (2). pp. 261-296. ISSN 1432-0479
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1007/s00199-006-0166-7
We extend the current immigration-enforcement literature by incorporating both the practice of people smuggling and a role for non-wage income into a two-country, dynamic general equilibrium model. We use the model economy to examine three questions. First, how does technological progress in the smuggling industry affect the level of migration and capital accumulation for a given level of enforcement? Second, do changes in border enforcement affect the level of migration, capital accumulation, and smuggling activity? Third, is the optimal level of enforcement sensitive to technological progress in the smuggling industry? We show that the government chooses to devote resources to border enforcement only if the deterrent effect on smugglers is large enough. Otherwise, it is not worth taxing host-country natives as the taxes paid will more than offset any income gain resulting from fewer migrants.