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The Smart Border Accord and the Schengen Agreement: A Comparative Analysis of Security Policies


  • Georges A. Tanguay
  • Marie-Christine Therrien


Focusing on cooperation and coordination, we compare the security policies of Europe's Schengen Agreement and the Canada-U.S. Smart Border Accord. To do so, we argue that national security is a public good and its production should be analyzed in a strategic context. We show that efficient border policies could require that countries collaborate and that the outcomes of such a collaboration are function of four fundamental factors: i) national sovereignty issues; ii) the number of participating countries; iii) prisoner's dilemma problems and iv) the payoff structure and the level of publicness related to security measures. In light of these factors, we underline the Schengen and U.S.-Canada differences. This allows us to show that the U.S. and Canada could reach optimal global security using independent border policies and a common security perimeter would not be necessary. Nous comparons les politiques de sécurité des accords de Schengen et de la frontière intelligente Canada-États-Unis en termes de coopération et de coordination. Pour ce faire, nous considérons que la sécurité nationale est un bien public dont la production doit être analysée en termes stratégiques. Nous démontrons qu'une gestion efficiente des frontières peut nécessiter que les pays participants collaborent et que les résultats de cette collaboration sont fonction de quatre facteurs fondamentaux : i) la souveraineté nationale; ii) le nombre de pays participants; iii) les problèmes de type « dilemme du prisonnier » et iv) la structure des bénéfices nationaux et le caractère public des mesures de sécurité. À la lumière de ces facteurs, nous soulignons et analysons les différences entre les accords de Schengen et de la frontière intelligente Canada-États-Unis. Nous démontrons que les États-Unis et le Canada peuvent atteindre un niveau optimal de sécurité globale en appliquant des politiques indépendantes de gestion frontalière et qu'ainsi, la mise en place d'un périmètre commun de sécurité ne serait pas nécessaire.

Suggested Citation

  • Georges A. Tanguay & Marie-Christine Therrien, 2010. "The Smart Border Accord and the Schengen Agreement: A Comparative Analysis of Security Policies," CIRANO Working Papers 2010s-45, CIRANO.
  • Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2010s-45

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    Security; Border; Terrorism; Smart Border Accord; Schengen ; Sécurité; frontière; terrorisme; accord sur la frontière intelligente; Schengen.;

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