Economics of Walls??

As I got an email with the same title, I was wondering what does it mean. I initially thought it would be economic thoughts by some historical economist which I know nothing about. But actually it turned out to Economics of Walls as in the physical walls.

DIW Berlin and the Economics of Security Initiative are organising a conference on Economics of Walls on 9 Nov, 2o11 to celebrate the 22 nd anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

 Physical walls play an important role in the economy. They protect our houses, assets and communities, obstruct views, interdict illegal migration, prevent invasions by enemy forces, enclose prisoners, and attract tourists. Walls may also act as  signals,  commitment devices or public work programs. Most famously, they have defined and divided countries and communities, for example in Germany, China, Korea and Israel, to name but a few. Walls may also matter from a methodological point of view. Where their location is random or where settlement occurs randomly on either side of a wall, they may offer instances of fascinating natural experiments. Finally, the image of the falling Wall in Berlin some 22 years ago is one of the most potent visual symbols of a peaceful revolution during the 20th century.


Hmm. Who could have thought that walls also have something to do with economics. So the conference invites papers on following:

At a one-day workshop hosted by DIW Berlin and the Economics of Security Initiative and walking distance from the former site of the most famous wall of the Twentieth Century, we would like to discuss the economic determinants, functions and impacts of walls from both a microeconomic and macroeconomic perspective. Topics in theoretical or empirical economics or closely related disciplines could include, but are not limited to:

· The role that walls play in international trade and migration
· How enclaves and exclaves deal with their territorial, walled status
· Whether walls affect the probability of international conflict
· The use of walls in regression discontinuity analysis
· The economic geography of walls, for example using GIS technology
· How walls affect domestic and international security
· The public opinion on and the perception of building walls
· The economic consequences of the fall of the Berlin Wall
· Issues of causality in building walls

Amazing really. All papers under the topic could be worth a read.

Next time you are staring at any wall, you know it has some economic message for you. Different walls could have different meanings – hall, bedroom, kitchen etc. Talk about economics being part of anything and everything you do, see, hear  etc.

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