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Informalidad laboral en las áreas urbanas de Colombia


  • Luis Armando Galvis



This paper aims to carry out a depiction of labor informality in Colombia. We discuss the different alternatives that have been considered when defining and measuring labor informality and, based on technical criteria, employ the definitions related to the lack of affiliation to social security schemes (healthcare and pensions) and that of DANE for measuring the intensity of informality in the twenty-three major Colombian cities. The results show that when defining informality as the lack of affiliation to social security, nearly six out of ten employees belong to the informal sector. Additionally, informal workers in Colombia are characterized by low educational and income levels, besides from working in smaller establishments, when compared to the formal workers. From a regional perspective, the cities outward to the trapezoid conformed by Bogota, Cali, Medellin and Bucaramanga, the country´s main economic location, have the highest informality rates. RESUMEN: El presente documento tiene por objetivo llevar a cabo una caracterización de la informalidad en Colombia. Se discuten las diferentes alternativas que se han considerado para definir y medir la informalidad y, basado en criterios técnicos, se emplea la definición asociada a la no afiliación a seguridad social (salud y pensión) y la del DANE para medir el nivel de informalidad en las veintitrés principales ciudades del país. Los resultados muestran que, definiendo la informalidad por la falta de aportes a seguridad social, cerca de seis de cada diez empleados se ubicaría en el sector informal. Asimismo, el perfil de los informales en Colombia se caracteriza por presentar bajos niveles educativos, menores niveles de ingreso y se desempeñan en establecimientos de menor tamaño que los trabajadores formales. A nivel regional, los niveles más altos en el grado de informalidad lo presentan ciudades que están por fuera del centro de actividad económica del país, especialmente las ciudades que no se encuentran en el trapecio formado por Bogotá, Cali, Medellín y Bucaramanga.

Suggested Citation

  • Luis Armando Galvis, 2012. "Informalidad laboral en las áreas urbanas de Colombia," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO SOBRE ECONOMÍA REGIONAL Y URBANA 009364, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA - ECONOMÍA REGIONAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000102:009364

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Luis Armando Galvis. & Adolfo Meisel Roca., 2010. "Fondo de Compensación Regional: Igualdad de oportunidades para la periferia colombiana," Documentos de trabajo sobre Economía Regional y Urbana 122, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    2. Luis Armando Galvis Aponte, 2001. "La topografía económica de Colombia," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO SOBRE ECONOMÍA REGIONAL Y URBANA 003095, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA - ECONOMÍA REGIONAL.
    3. Daniel Mejía & carlos Esteban Posada, 2007. "Informalidad: teoría e implicaciones de política," Borradores de Economia 455, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    4. García Cruz Gustavo Adolfo, 2008. "Informalidad regional en Colombia. Evidencia y Determinantes," REVISTA DESARROLLO Y SOCIEDAD, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE, February.
    5. Luis Armando Galvis, 2010. "Diferenciales salariales por género y región en Colombia: una aproximación con regresión por cuantiles," REVISTA DE ECONOMÍA DEL ROSARIO, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO, November.
    6. Camilo Mondragón-Vélez & Ximena Peña & Daniel Wills, 2010. "Labor Market Rigidities and Informality in Colombia," ECONOMIA JOURNAL, THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION - LACEA, vol. 0(Fall 2010), pages 65-101, August.
    7. Bernal Raquel, 2009. "The Informal Labor Market in Colombia: identification and characterization," REVISTA DESARROLLO Y SOCIEDAD, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE, September.
    8. Paola Roldán Vásquez & Carlos Ospino Hernández, 2009. "¿Quiénes terminan en la informalidad?: Impacto de las características y el tiempo de búsqueda," REVISTA DE ECONOMÍA DEL CARIBE 007124, UNIVERSIDAD DEL NORTE.
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    Blog mentions

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    1. Informalidad laboral en las áreas urbanas de Colombia
      by Maximo Rossi in Wikiprogress América Latina on 2012-03-18 18:22:00


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Nancy Aireth DAZA BAEZ & Luis Fernando GAMBOA, 2013. "An approximation to the Informal-formal wage gap in Colombia 2008-2012," ARCHIVOS DE ECONOMÍA 011196, DEPARTAMENTO NACIONAL DE PLANEACIÓN.
    2. Mónica Sofía Gómez & Luis Armando Galvis-Aponte & Vicente Royuela, 2015. "“Calidad de vida laboral en Colombia: un índice multidimensional difuso”," AQR Working Papers 201513, University of Barcelona, Regional Quantitative Analysis Group, revised Apr 2016.
    3. Gustavo Adolfo García, 2016. "Agglomeration Economies in the Presence of an Informal Sector. The Colombian Case," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 014575, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    4. Paula Herrera-Idárraga & Enrique López-Bazo & Elisabet Motellón, 2016. "Regional Wage Gaps, Education and Informality in an Emerging Country: The Case of Colombia," Spatial Economic Analysis, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(4), pages 432-456, October.
    5. Lina María Restrepo Plaza & Paula Andrea Rivas Oyuela, 2013. "La calidad del empleo para los hombres y las mujeres: un estudio desde la informalidad, el subempleo y las percepciones," REVISTA EQUIDAD Y DESARROLLO, UNIVERSIDAD DE LA SALLE, March.
    6. repec:eee:deveco:v:130:y:2018:i:c:p:99-112 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:col:000093:015839 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:bla:rdevec:v:21:y:2017:i:4:p:985-1017 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Gustavo A. García, 2017. "Labor Informality: Choice or Sign of Segmentation? A Quantile Regression Approach at the Regional Level for Colombia," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(4), pages 985-1017, November.
    10. María Aguilera-Díaz & Ali Miguel Arrieta-Arrieta & Andrés Fernando Carreño-Castellar & Camila Uribe-Villa, 2015. "Caracterización del comercio en Cartagena y Bolívar, 2000-2014," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO SOBRE ECONOMÍA REGIONAL Y URBANA 014491, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA - ECONOMÍA REGIONAL.
    11. repec:ris:revlde:1945 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Luis Armando Galvis, 2013. "¿El triunfo de Bogotá?: desempeño reciente de la ciudad capital," COYUNTURA ECONÓMICA, FEDESARROLLO, June.
    13. Luis Armando Galvis-Aponte & Gerson Javier Pérez-Valbuena, 2015. "Informalidad laboral y calidad del empleo en la Región Pacífica colombiana," Documentos de trabajo sobre Economía Regional y Urbana 233, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    14. Nancy Daza & Luis Fernando Gamboa, 2013. "Informal-formal wage gaps in Colombia," Working Papers 301, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.

    More about this item


    informalidad; seguridad social; teoría institucionalista; teoría estructuralista; economía regional.;

    JEL classification:

    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J42 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Monopsony; Segmented Labor Markets

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