miércoles, 28 de agosto de 2013

The Urban-Rural Poverty Gap in Colombia


Jose Leibovich
Jairo Nunez


There is a clear consensus among economists that the purpose of the development process should be to achieve a richer and more egalitarian society. This reaffirms the need not only for sustained economic growth but also for more equal opportunities of access to resources for all citizens, combined with a better distribution of assets, which is a condition sine qua non for better distribution of income.

Improved distribution of assets is also a necessary condition for stimulating economic growth. It would generate more equal growth of income which, in turn, would minimize the need for redistribution, generating a virtuous circle of more growth and more equity (Bourguignon, 1996). 

Among the countries of Latin America , Colombia has had relatively stable but moderate economic growth for decades , accompanied by very unequal distribution of assets and income . This means that at the dawn of the 21st century, Colombia still has appreciable levels of poverty. 

This chapter analyzes the extent to which the poor population in Colombia has certain assets , the lack of which to a large extent is the cause of poverty. These diverse assets are grouped into four major categories: human capital, physical and/or financial capital, public capital and social capital.

The first category includes the amount of formal education, work experience and other forms of classification of manpower that can strengthen the principal asset possessed by the poor , which is their capacity to work.

The chapter contains an analysis of labor participation, particularly in relation to the poor. The second category includes possession or access to assets such as land, savings and credit, which are directly linked to the generation of income and other assets such as housing and electrical appliances that indicate the degree of a household's material well-being. The third category relates to assets or resources supplied by the state, which range from public services to justice and security. The fourth category of social capital has to do with the organization of individuals around certain values upon which assistance and solidarity networks are built.

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