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Decision and Policy Analysis Research Area – DAPA


The following paper is now available only on request : r.i.parra-pena@cgiar.org 

(Document in Spanish only)



Rafael Isidro Parra-Peña S.[1]π

Liliana Alejandra Ordoñez δ

Camilo Andrés Acosta δ


Se busca identificar políticas que permitan disminuir las brechas socio-económicas presentes entre el campo y la ciudades de Colombia. Se realizan dos análisis: i) revisar de qué manera el grado de ruralidad de los territorios afecta las brechas visibles en el desarrollo humano (modelo de variables instrumentales); y ii) estudiar el comportamiento de los grupos de población urbana y rural que se encuentran por debajo de la línea de pobreza (modelo de probit ordenado). Se encuentra que son contados los municipios que combinan su ruralidad con altos niveles de desarrollo humano. Su éxito radica en el manejo institucional y el uso de las finanzas públicas como motor de progreso. También se resalta la necesidad de la creación de una “clase media” campesina. Por otro lado, reducir la pobreza en el campo requiere esfuerzos estatales mucho mayores que en la ciudad. En otras palabras, se debe buscar la manera de incentivar la formación de activos tangibles y no tangibles por parte de la población campesina. Finalmente, si bien la mujer es la columna vertebral de la economía rural, ellas no están siendo objeto de las políticas públicas, por lo tanto, el género sigue siendo determinante en la probabilidad de estar en la pobreza o ser vulnerable a esta.


We identify policies that may reduce socioeconomic gaps between the urban centers and the rural countryside of Colombia. We perform two interrelated analyses: i) we review the effect of rurality on human development gaps; and ii) we study the behavior of both urban and rural populations living below the line of poverty. We have found that only a small number of rural municipalities demonstrate a corresponding high level of human development. Such municipalities base their success on the quality of their institutions; when stronger institutions exist, public finance can become an engine of progress.  Likewise, the formation of a “middle class” of peasants has a positive effect on rural human development indicators. As opposed to urban poverty alleviation, reducing rural poverty requires a much greater effort on the part of the government, specifically, in the formation of tangible and intangible assets for the rural population.  Finally, although women are the backbone of the rural economy in Colombia, they are still not well supported by the public policy and gender remains a determinant of rural poverty and vulnerability.

[1] π Economist, Policy Analyst -Markets Unit- of the Decision and Policy Area of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) of the CGIAR, Lecturer of  the Faculty of Economics, Universidad de los Andes at Bogotá, Consultant of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Department of Investment Climate,  World Bank Group at Washington DC (USA). Previously, Mr. Parra-Peña has been Economist and Consultant of (CEPAL) ECLAC, U.N.
δ- Research Assistants, Student of the Faculty of Economics, Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá Colombia.
This paper was prepared for the Meeting “Territories in Motion –Territorios en Movimiento- 2012” of RIMISP.
The authors would like to especially thank Mr. Mark Lundy (CIAT) and Mr. Bernardo Creamer (IFPRI-CIAT) for some general comments. In addition, we thank José Nicolas Rosas, a student of the Faculty of Economics, University of the Andes, for preliminary literature review.
The point of view expressed in this document are those of the authors and may not reflect those of the organizations to which they belong.


Photo source: www.flickr.com/photos/ciat/

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