The Economics of Walls and Fences

Klaus F. Zimmermann, UNU-MERIT, Global Labor Organization (GLO)

Migration research seems to suggest that mobility creates economic welfare. The puzzle then is why do we have not more global migration than we observe. One explanation is the existence of borders, either legal, cultural or ethnic constraints, others are limits generated by geography or are simply walls and fences build by humans. Behind the creation of such borders are either humanitarian, military, security or economic arguments. However, migration research also suggests that hindering free mobility creates a larger stock of migrants and delays cultural assimilation, typically the opposite of what those want who propose those borders. Examining the existence of walls and fences around the world, the presentation discusses first this background. It then analyses the rise of walls and fences in the last decades which seem to be at odds with economic rationale and provides a historical perspective and understanding.



About the speaker

Klaus F. Zimmermann is President of the Global Labor Organization (GLO) and Co-Director of  Centre for Population, Development and Labour Economics (POP) at UNU-MERIT.

He is also a Full Professor of Economics at Bonn University (em.); Honorary Professor, Maastricht University, Free University of Berlin and Renmin University of China, Beijing; Member, German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, Regional Science Academy, and Academia Europaea, the European Academy of Sciences, and Chair of its Section for Economics, Business and Management Sciences. Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Population Economics. Research Fellow of the Centre for Economic Policy Research and Fellow of the European Economic Association. Founding Director, Institute for the Study of Labor; Past-President, German Institute for Economic Research. 

Previous Professorships and visits (among others) at Macquarie University, University of Melbourne, Princeton University, Harvard University, Munich University, Dartmouth College, Kyoto University and University of Pennsylvania. Rockefeller Foundation Policy Fellow 2017; Eminent Research Scholar Award 2017, Australia.



Venue: 0.16/0.17

Date: 18 April 2018

Time: 12:00 - 13:00


UNU-MERIT