In Colombia, income gaps between regions are huge and have been growing: new job opportunities are increasingly concentrated in the metropolitan areas of Bogotá, Medellín and Cali, as well as a few places where oil and other minerals are extracted. The average income of residents of Bogotá is four times that of Colombians living in the 12 poorest departments.
In a country as heterogeneous and regionally disconnected as Colombia, it is unrealistic to expect that regional gaps can be resolved by implementing the same policies in all departments and municipalities. In the absence of effective regional strategies, large cities will continue to develop new and increasingly sophisticated production activities, while most lower-income regions will continue to produce a few unsophisticated products, with their labor force working mostly in construction and very low productivity services.
The Atlas of Economic Complexity of Colombia is a diagnostic tool for the productivity of departments, cities and municipalities. It will serve to facilitate decision making for governments at various levels, for institutions committed to the development of these regions, and for companies and investors interested in expanding and conquering new national and international markets.
This project is funded by Bancóldex and Fundación Mario Santo Domingo and is currently being developed by the Center for International Development at Harvard University, under the leadership of Professor Ricardo Hausmann.