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The Long Trace of Inequality: Evidence from Cundinamarca, Colombia


  • Juan Sebastián Galán



This paper uses historic data from Cundinamarca, Colombia to empirically assess the impact of land inequality persistence, inherited from the colonial rule, on economic development in the long run. Based on the Engerman & Sokoloff hypothesis and the use of GIS, I use plausible exogenous variation in land endowments to design an instrumental variable strategy. In contrast to recent studies, I find that more unequal municipalities in the XIX and XX century are associated with better growth, human capital and public goods provision measures today. Political economy channels instead of agricultural productivity gains can explain these results. In municipalities where land was historically more concentrated, powerful landowners were more successful in solving their collective action problem of accessing political power to influence theallocation economic resources in their interests.

Suggested Citation

  • Juan Sebastián Galán, 2011. "The Long Trace of Inequality: Evidence from Cundinamarca, Colombia," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 008732, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000089:008732

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    1. repec:rms:wpaper:33 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Ibáñez, A. M. & Fernández, M. & Hernández, C. & Jaramillo, C., 2009. "Dinámicas departamentales de pobreza en Colombia 1993-2005," Working papers 033, Rimisp Latin American Center for Rural Development.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jean-Paul Faguet & Fabio Sánchez & Marta-Juanita Villaveces, 2015. "Land Reform, Latifundia and Social Development at Local Level in Colombia, 1961-2010," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO 012503, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO.

    More about this item


    Land inequality; growth; public goods; political economy;

    JEL classification:

    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • N36 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Latin America; Caribbean

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