Colombia

Colombia Overview

Country Lead: Jacob N. Shapiro

Colombia has one of the world’s longest running internal conflicts. While the country’s security situation has improved over the past decade, multiple insurgent groups and remnant and emerging “criminal bands” (BACRIM) involved with drug-trafficking and other illegal economic activities remain active and continue to threaten both the civilian population and government institutions. Given the rough terrain, drug trade, variation in state capacity, and external insurgent support networks found in the Colombian context, insights drawn from this case may have relevance for other conflicts. Further, the high-quality quantitative data available for its roughly 1,100 municipalities extending over long periods of time make the country an ideal setting for testing theories of conflict.

ESOC researchers working on Colombia are involved in a number of projects to better understand patterns of conflict and development. One recent study questions the counterinsurgent effects of historical land reforms, identifying the conditions when reforms have a chance at stemming insurgency and when they are likely to fail. Another line of research has examined how some communities may “opt-out” of conflict settings to avoid episodes of violence and remain resilient against pressure from armed groups. Currently, studies are underway to analyze the Government of Colombia’s National Consolidation Plan, a USAID-supported policy designed to bring greater security and state presence to historically conflictive regions through development and governance enhancement programs. ESOC research on consolidation is examining how this program impacts a range of economic, political, and social outcomes. Other projects underway will analyze the links between the illegal narcotics trade and security.

ESOC researchers are building relationships with governmental and non-governmental institutions in Colombia to continue to compile fine-grained observational and survey data on conflict, development, and governance indicators.

Data

Demographic/Socioeconomic

Data
Data
Hectares Coca 2001-2010 (Tabular Data)
Data
Links

Economic Development

Geography

Links
GADM Database of Global Administrative Areas (External Data Repositories)
Links
Perry/Castaneda Map Collection: Colombia (External Data Repositories)

Infrastructure

Political Development

Public Opinion

Violence

Links
RAND Database of Worldwide Terrorism Incidents (External Data Repositories)
Links
UNODC Colombia (External Data Repositories)

News

Press Articles

Another Step Toward Peace in Colombia
Author(s): Oliver Kaplan
Foreign Policy: Transitions: Frontline Reports from a World of Political Change, 13th July 2015
Can Colombia build on its democratic opening?
Author(s): Oliver Kaplan
CNN World Website, November 19, 2013
Colombia Calls a Draw in the War on Drugs
Author(s): Oliver Kaplan
Foreign Policy: Democracy Lab, June 13, 2014
Peace is Coming to Colombia
Author(s): Oliver Kaplan
Foreign Policy: Democracy Lab, 14th May 2015

Op-eds

Colombia’s Rebels and Land Reform
Author(s): Oliver Kaplan
New York Times Op-Ed (October 9, 2012)