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Geography and Economic Development in Colombia: A Municipal Approach

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  • Jairo Núñez
  • Fabio Sánchez Torres

Abstract

The object of this paper is to determine the relationship between geographical variables and income per capita, income per capita growth, population density and population growth in Colombian municipalities. In order to carry out econometric estimations at the municipal level we constructed a set of geographical variables based on soil, climate and road maps. We obtained some other geographical variables from the Colombian Institute of Geography (IGAC) homogeneous zone statistics. We found that geography affects both the level of municipal income per capita and its growth, being responsible for between 36% and 47% of the variance in municipal income per capita, and between 35% and 40% of the variance in municipal income per capita growth. It was established that, among the geographic variables, distance to domestic markets and soil type exercise the greatest influence on income per capita and its growth. Furthermore, geographical variables seem to be more significant for poor municipalities than rich ones. In poor municipalities, geography is responsible for between 25% and 32% of income per capita variance, and between 24% and 27% of income per capita growth variance. In contrast, in rich municipalities, geography is less important, being responsible for between 18% and 25% of income per capita variance and between 16% and 17% of income per capita growth variance. Thus, geography affects income and income growth via the productivity of the land, the availability of natural resources (such as water and rivers), the presence of tropical diseases, and agglomeration. Although geography influences the fate of a region, that is not the end of the story. Human factors, both public policy and private intervention, also play an important role. Education, infrastructure and more efficient public institutions can boost regional economic growth, and can help poor regions to overcome the poverty trap of low income and low economic growth.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department in its series Research Department Publications with number 3107.

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Date of creation: Jun 2000
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Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:3107

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  1. Ricardo Rocha & Alejandro Vivas, 1998. "Crecimiento regional en Colombia: ¿Persiste la desigualdad?," REVISTA DE ECONOMÍA DEL ROSARIO, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO.
  2. Glaeser, Edward L & Hedi D. Kallal & Jose A. Scheinkman & Andrei Shleifer, 1992. "Growth in Cities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(6), pages 1126-52, December.
    • Edward L. Glaeser & Hedi D. Kallal & Jose A. Scheinkman & Andrei Shleifer, 1991. "Growth in Cities," NBER Working Papers 3787, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Kallal, Hedi D. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Shleifer, Andrei, 1992. "Growth in Cities," Scholarly Articles 3451309, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Birchenall Jiménez Javier Arturo, 1997. "Convergencia regional: una revisión del caso colombiano," REVISTA DESARROLLO Y SOCIEDAD, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  4. Montenegro Santiago, 1996. "El papel de las regiones para la estabilidad macroeconómica de Colombia," REVISTA DESARROLLO Y SOCIEDAD, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  5. John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew D. Mellinger, 1998. "Geography and Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 6849, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew D. Mellinger, 1998. "Geography and Economic Development," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1856, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  7. Fedderke, Johannes & Klitgaard, Robert, 1998. "Economic Growth and Social Indicators: An Exploratory Analysis," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(3), pages 455-89, April.
  8. Leibovich, José & Núñez, Jairo, 1999. "Activos y recursos de la población pobre en Colombia," El Trimestre Económico, Fondo de Cultura Económica, vol. 0(263), pages 501-551, julio-sep.
  9. Koenker, Roger & Bassett, Gilbert, Jr, 1982. "Robust Tests for Heteroscedasticity Based on Regression Quantiles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 43-61, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Angrist, Joshua & Kugler, Adriana, 2007. "Rural Windfall or a New Resource Curse? Coca, Income, and Civil Conflict in Colombia," IZA Discussion Papers 2790, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Andres Rosas & Juan Mendoza, 2004. "The economic effects of geography Colombia as a case study," DOCUMENTOS DE ECONOMÍA 003584, UNIVERSIDAD JAVERIANA - BOGOTÁ.
  3. Adolfo Meisel Roca & Gerson Javier Pérez V, 2006. "Geografía física y poblamiento en la Costa Caribe colombiana," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO SOBRE ECONOMÍA REGIONAL, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA - ECONOMÍA REGIONAL 002767, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA - ECONOMÍA REGIONAL.

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