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Locked up? The development and internal migration nexus in Colombia


  • Karina Acosta
  • Hengyu Gu


Although a sizable number of studies have been exploring the migration development nexus in international settings, there is still a reduced number on internal contexts in recent years. This research aims to estimate the causal effect of origin economic conditions on internal population migration using a time series of the Colombian states between 2012 and 2019. This analysis provides a macro perspective of associations and causation between population dynamics and development in the current changes observed using spatial interaction models. Likewise, it analyses the current portray of internal migration in Colombia (defined by five-years and one-year flows). The evidence shows that the migration hump depends on the scale at which it is analyzed. At an aggregated scale, initial economic conditions are negatively associated with migration until a threshold where this relationship is reversed. The opposite is observed in the rural migrants subsample. **** RESUMEN: Aunque un número considerable de estudios ha estado explorando el nexo entre la migración y el desarrollo en entornos internacionales, todavía hay un número reducido de estos estudios en contextos internos en los últimos anos. Esta investigación tiene como objetivo principal estimar el efecto causal de las condiciones económicas de origen sobre la migración interna de la población colombiana utilizando una serie de tiempo de departamentos entre 2012 y 2019. Este análisis proporciona una perspectiva macro de asociaciones y causalidad entre la dinámica poblacional y el desarrollo en el país utilizando modelos de interacción espacial. Asimismo, analiza el retrato actual de los migrantes internos en Colombia (definida por flujos de cinco y un ano). La evidencia en este caso específico muestra que la llamada U invertida de la migración depende de la escala utilizada. Por departamentos agregados, las condiciones económicas iniciales se asocian negativamente con la migración hasta un umbral en el que esta relación se invierte. Un comportamiento inverso se encuentra en la submuestra de migrantes rurales.

Suggested Citation

  • Karina Acosta & Hengyu Gu, 2022. "Locked up? The development and internal migration nexus in Colombia," Documentos de Trabajo Sobre Economía Regional y Urbana 019931, Banco de la República - Economía Regional.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000102:019931
    DOI: 10.32468/dtseru.304

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    More about this item


    Internal migration; development; migration hump; spatial interaction models; Colombia; migración interna; desarrollo; curva de migración; modelos de interacción espacial; Colombia.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models


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