Colombia: Economic and Human Development

For my Politics of Developing Democracies class, we’ve been researching different aggregates that concern the many different facets of developing countries. I chose the country of Colombia, because of it’s compelling history and my love for the show Narcos.

In my research, I created three graphs to fully express the evolution of Colombia’s economic development, income distribution, and human development since 2000. To cultivate the graph for income distribution, I went to the World Bank’s World Development Indicators website. There, I chose Colombia as my country. Next, I applied two different series: GDP per capita, PPP (constant 2011 international $) and income shares by quintiles. Third, I regulated this data only to the years that came after 2000 to get a more modern perspective. The World Bank gave me all necessary data, however, the years 2006, 2007, 2016, and 2017 did not have any collected data. With that information, I graphed an accurate Lorenz curve for every year available, along with a line for perfect equality (Table I). Because the incomes had slight changes throughout the years, the graph couldn’t display them in a spread-out fashion, so I’ve also included an additional table with the raw data used to create the graph (Table IV). In Table I and Table IV, we can see that the lowest quintile of the economy shifted slightly in an upward fashion, especially spiking in 2003 and 2012. This shows us that the poorest part of Colombia’s economy managed to increase the wealth they collectively hold in comparison to the other quintiles. Due to this increase, “the share of the population below the poverty line reduced from 47.4% to 28.0%” according to the Departamento Administrativo Nacional de Estadística (DANE). However, this decrease in poverty did not increase the level of equality in the country. Colombia is still one of the most unequal countries in the world and this is most likely due to the fact that many Colombians work in “informal sectors” (Europa).


My second graph concerns the economic development of Colombia in comparison to the
regional average of surrounding countries. In order to do this, I went back to the World Bank’s World Development Indicators website. There, I selected Columbia along with the aggregate for Latin American & the Caribbean, which was to express the regional average. I reapplied the series GDP per capita, PPP (constant 2011 international $), and the timeline of every year falling after 2000. With this data, I could plot a line graph that compared the economic development of Colombia and Latin America side by side (Table II). Lastly, my final graph describes the progression of human development in the country. To do this, I went to the United Nations’ website for Human Development Reports and chose the HDI as my dimension. Next, I chose Colombia as my country and downloaded the raw data. With that, I changed the timeline to 2000-2015 and graphed a new line chart with the information. In it, you can see the movement of the index value throughout the past two decades (Table III).  In the graph (Table II) the GDP per capita of Colombia and the regional average are compared. We can observe that the GDP of Colombia is quite a bit below that of the average in 2000 and very slowly diminishes that gap once it reaches 2016. This gradual increase is due to liberal reforms in the late 1990’s that continued into the next century. To do this, the Colombian government implemented “free trade agreements and [a commitment] to a regulatory role, with a higher emphasis on social services” (Europa). Oil was also a major component in Colombia gathering traction in the global economy. However, despite all the progress made, the graph still clearly shows us that Colombia is not equivalent to being even with its regional average, and therefore it is still a developing country.


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All the information I used for my research, parenthetical citations, and graphs are cited below 👇🏼:

Colombia, in Europa World online. London, Routledge. Ohio University. Retrieved 28 January 2018 from

“DataBank.” DataBank | The World Bank,

“Human Development Reports.” Human Development Reports | United Nations Development Programme,

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