How is inequality reduced in Colombian cities? Politics, economics and luck in Bucaramanga, Pereira, Barranquilla and Cartagena?

Project: Research Project

Project Details


Colombia is considered the country with the highest level of inequality in Latin America, which is the most unequal region in the world. Inequality poses profound difficulties for well-being, economic development and democracy, constituting the main challenge in a post-conflict context. Based on this finding, this research aims to explain different trajectories of income inequality in Colombian cities. The urban environment is chosen because the majority of the Colombian population lives in a dense network of cities, and these have become home to millions of victims as a result of the armed conflict. And although inequality in the Colombian city is "very high" [1], in some cities
there have been significant reductions in recent years. Thus, the main question of this work is, How is inequality reduced in Colombian cities? To understand the causes of these divergent trajectories, two pairs of cities will be compared: Bucaramanga and Pereira; and Barranquilla and Cartagena. The cities that make up each couple are similar in their population, location and poverty levels, but although they start with similar degrees of inequality, after 14 years they present opposite results. Inequality is substantially reduced in Bucaramanga and not in Pereira, in Barranquilla and not in Cartagena. To understand the differentiated trajectories, it is proposed to do field work, analysis of secondary literature, interviews at the national and local level, and analysis of surveys and statistics. Combining quantitative and qualitative methodologies, this research will propose concrete actions that will be relevant to policy makers.
Effective start/end date5/31/195/31/22

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Main Funding Source

  • National


  • Barranquilla
  • Cartagena
  • Bucaramanga
  • Pereira


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