Degree Name

BS

Department

Economics

College

Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Defense Date

2021-07-20

Publication Date

2021-08-06

First Faculty Advisor

Jaren Pope

First Faculty Reader

Emily Leslie

Honors Coordinator

John Stovall

Keywords

Border Fence, Border Security, Arizona, Hedonic, Difference-in-Differences, Property Values

Abstract

Building a barrier on the US-Mexico border has been a hot-button issue for a couple of decades. Not only do people disagree on the effectiveness of walls and fences, but there has also been debate on whether they generate positive or negative externalities on localities. Using data on construction of the US-Mexico border fence, as well as housing data for Yuma County, Arizona, I attempt to identify the treatment effect of fence construction on nearby housing prices, which may serve as an indicator of some of the external impacts of walls and fences. Mine is the first study to quantify the effect of the US-Mexico border fence on local residential property values. With a hedonic difference-in-differences model, I find that construction of border barriers has a large positive effect on housing prices within 0.5 miles of the border between 2007 and 2011 relative to the price of homes further away. The finding of a large effect is important, especially since economic theory gives reason to expect both positive and negative influences. My results could inform policy on the US-Mexico border, taking into account possible economic tradeoffs that may occur when the barrier on the border is expanded.

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