Unintended Consequences, installment #638

"Security Crackdown Cuts Illegal Crossing But Aids Smugglers."  That’s the headline and the story concerns the border between Mexico and Texas.  How might this be true?  It is simple:

As tighter security makes crossing the border trickier and more hazardous, the traditional mom-and-pop operations in Mexico that used to ferry people across have been replaced by larger, more-professional criminal gangs, often with ties to the illegal drug trade.

Or think of it in terms of finance: "Authorities are beginning to see commingling of drugs and human loads and are frequently seizing migrants who apparently are paying for their trip by carrying drugs for traffickers."  This is also known as the Alchian and Allen theorem.

The information and quotation are from today’s WSJ, "Shift is Afoot on Mexican Border," p.A8.  Here is a previous installment in this series.