Effects of the Geographical Distance on Economic Well-being: Evidence from Colombia with Emphasis on Displaced Population





emigration, migration waves, demographic situation, Lithuania, Brexit


Forced migration and displacement are two well-known results of internal armed conflicts of nations. A fundamental relationship associated with these humanitarian movements is the one entailing the link between the geographical distance travelled by migrants and their economic well-being. As such a link remains unstudied in previous works, its empirical scrutiny is timely for migration studies. In this paper, we take the Colombian conflict as a case study to analyze this relationship empirically. Using data from the Longitudinal Social Protection Survey (ELPS) - 2012, we estimated a regression model, in which we tested different welfare measures and blocks of control variables. Contrary to what we expected, the results show that the elasticity of distance is positive and that it does not determine welfare outcomes for the displaced population.

Author Biography

Henry Laverde-Rojas, Fundación Universitaria Konrad Lorenz

Escuela de Negocios, associate professor


Abbott, A. and Silles, M. (2016). Determinants of international student migration. The World Economy, 39(5), 621-635.


Adsera, A. and Pytlikova, M. (2016). Language and migration. In The Palgrave handbook of economics and language, pages 342-372. Springer.


Akın, D. and Dokmeci, V. (2014). Cluster analysis of interregional migration in Turkey. Journal of Urban Planning and Development, 141(3), 05014016.


Azam, J.-P. and Hoeffler, A. (2002). Violence against civilians in civil wars: looting or terror? Journal of Peace Research, 39(4), 461-485.


Beine, M. and Parsons, C. (2015). Climatic factors as determinants of international migration. The Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 117(2), 723-767.


Biagi, Bianca, F. A. M. P. (2011). Long and short distance migration in Italy: The role of economic, social and environmental characteristics. Spatial Economic Analysis, 6(1), 111-131.


Bodvarsson, Ö. B., Simpson, N. B., and Sparber, C. (2015). Migration theory. In Handbook of the Economics of International Migration, volume 1, pages 3-51. Elsevier.


Brettell, C. B., & Hollifield, J. F. (2014). Migration theory: Talking across disciplines. (3rd ed). Routledge: New York.


Brown, L. A. and Moore, E. G. (1970). The intra-urban migration process: a perspective. Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography, 52(1), 1-13.


Buch, T., Hamann, S., Niebuhr, A., and Rossen, A. (2014). What makes cities attractive? The determinants of urban labour migration in Germany. Urban Studies, 51(9), 1960-1978.


Carling, J. and Collins, F. (2018). Aspiration, desire and drivers of migration.

Castañeda, I. S., Mulitza, S., Schefuß, E., dos Santos, R. A. L., Damsté, J. S. S., & Schouten, S. (2009). Wet phases in the Sahara/Sahel region and human migration patterns in North Africa. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(48), 20159-20163.


Clay, J. W. (1984). The eviction of Banyaruanda: the story behind the refugee crisis in southwest Uganda (Vol. 14). Cultural Survival.

Cohen, J. H., & Sirkeci, I. (2011). Cultures of migration: The global nature of contemporary mobility. University of Texas Press.

Clark, W. A. and Lisowski, W. (2017). Prospect theory and the decision to move or stay. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(36), E7432-E7440.


Correa, J. C., García-Chitiva, M. P., and García-Vargas, G. R. (2018). A Text Mining Approach to the Text Difficulty of Latin American Peace Agreements. Revista Latinoamericana de Psicología, 50(1), 61-70.


Czaika, M. (2013). Are unequal societies more migratory? Comparative Migration Studies, 1(1), 97-122.


Davenport, C., Moore, W., & Poe, S. (2003). Sometimes you just have to leave: Domestic threats and forced migration, 1964-1989. International Interactions, 29(1), 27-55.


De Haas, H. (2010). Migration and development: A theoretical perspective. International Migration Review, 44(1), 227-264.


De Jong, G. F., Chamratrithirong, A., and Tran, Q.-G. (2002). For better, for worse: Life satisfaction consequences of migration. International Migration Review, 36(3), 838-863.


Diener, E. (2009). Subjective well-being. In The science of well-being, pages 11-58. Springer.


Dorigo, G. and Tobler, W. (1983). Push-pull migration laws. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 73(1), 1-17.


Dueñas, X., Palacios, P., and Zuluaga, B. (2014). Forced displacement in Colombia: What determines expulsion and reception in municipalities? Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy, 20(4), 585-597.


Durlauf, S. N., Johnson, P. A., and Temple, J. R. (2005). Growth econometrics. Handbook of economic growth, 1, 555-677.


Dungan, P., Fang, T., and Gunderson, M. (2013). Macroeconomic impacts of Canadian immigration: Results from a macro model. British Journal of Industrial Relations, 51(1), 174-195.


Engel, S. and Ibáñez, A. M. (2007). Displacement due to violence in Colombia: A household-level analysis. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 55(2), 335-365.


Epstein, G. S. (2008). Herd and network effects in migration decision-making. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 34(4), 567-583.


Fiala, N. (2015). Economic consequences of forced displacement. The Journal of Development Studies, 51(10), 1275-1293.


Fuentes, N. and Rojas, M. (2001). Economic theory and subjective well-being: Mexico. Social Indicators Research, 53(3), 289-314.


Ibáñez, A. M. (2008). El desplazamiento forzoso en Colombia: un camino sin retorno hacia la pobreza. Ediciones Uniandes-Universidad de los Andes.

Ibáñez, A. M. and Velásquez, A. (2008). El impacto del desplazamiento forzoso en Colombia: condiciones socioeconómicas de la población desplazada, vinculación a los mercados laborales y políticas públicas. Cepal.

Ibáñez, A. M. and Vélez, C. E. (2003). Forced displacement in Colombia: Causality and welfare losses. Unpublished Document

Ibáñez, A. M. and Vélez, C. E. (2008). Civil conflict and forced migration: The micro determinants and welfare losses of displacement in Colombia. World Development, 36(4), 659-676.


Icduygu, A., Sirkeci, I., & Muradoglu, G. (2001). Socio‐economic Development and International Migration: A Turkish Study. International Migration, 39(4), 39-61.


Ivlevs, A. and Veliziotis, M. (2018). Beyond conflict: Long-term labour market integration of internally displaced persons in post-socialist countries. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 105, 131-146.


Kaufmann, C. (1996). Possible and impossible solutions to ethnic civil wars. International security, 20(4), 136-175.


Kaufmann, C. D. (1998). When all else fails: Ethnic population transfers and partitions in the twentieth century. International security, 23(2), 120-156.


Kondoh, K. (2017). Unemployment, environmental policy, and international migration. In The Economics of International Immigration, pages 161-173. Springer.


Koramaz, T. K. and Dokmeci, V. (2016). Impact of distance on migration in Turkey. Migration Letters, 13(2):269.


Kuhn, R. (2015). Internal migration: Developing countries. International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences (Second Edition). 433-442.


Lewer, J. J. and Van den Berg, H. (2008). A gravity model of immigration. Economics Letters, 99(1), 164-167.


Lozano-Gracia, N., Piras, G., Ibáñez, A. M., and Hewings, G. J. (2010). The journey to safety: conflict- driven migration flows in Colombia. International Regional Science Review, 33(2), 157-180.


Lundborg, P. (2013). Refugees' employment integration in Sweden: Cultural distance and labor market performance. Review of International Economics, 21(2), 219-232.


Mayda, A. M. (2010). International migration: A panel data analysis of the determinants of bilateral flows. Journal of Population Economics, 23(4), 1249- 1274.


Murray, M. P. (2006). Avoiding invalid instruments and coping with weak instruments. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 20(4), 111-132.


Melander, E., & Öberg, M. (2006). Time to go? Duration dependence in forced migration. International Interactions, 32(2), 129-152.


Melander, E., & Öberg, M. (2007). The threat of violence and forced migration: Geographical scope trumps intensity of fighting. Civil Wars, 9(2), 156-173.


Miguélez, E. and Moreno, R. (2014). What attracts knowledge workers? the role of space and social networks. Journal of Regional Science, 54(1), 33-60.


Mintchev V., Boshnakov V., Richter M., Ruspini P. (2017) Determinants of Migration and Types of Migration and Mobility. In: Richter M., Ruspini P., Mihailov D., Mintchev V., Nollert M. (eds) Migration and Transnationalism Between Switzerland and Bulgaria. (pp. 25 - 60). Springer, Cham


Mitra, A. (2013). Rural-urban distribution of growth. In Insights into Inclusive Growth, Employment and Wellbeing in India, (pp. 57-82). Springer India.


Moore, W. H., & Shellman, S. M. (2004). Fear of persecution: Forced migration, 1952-1995. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 48(5), 723-745.


Moore, W. H., & Shellman, S. M. (2006). Refugee or internally displaced person? To where should one flee?. Comparative Political Studies, 39(5), 599-622.


Moore, W. H., & Shellman, S. M. (2007). Whither will they go? A global study of refugees' destinations, 1965-1995. International Studies Quarterly, 51(4), 811-834.


Morrison, P. S. and Clark, W. A. (2016). Loss aversion and duration of residence. Demographic research, 35, 1079-1100.


Newland, K. (1993). Ethnic conflict and refugees. Survival, 35(1), 81-101.


Niedomysl, T. and Fransson, U. (2014). On distance and the spatial dimension in the definition of internal migration. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 104(2), 357-372.


Ozgen, C., Nijkamp, P., and Poot, J. (2010). The effect of migration on income growth and convergence: Meta-analytic evidence. Papers in Regional Science, 89(3), 537-561.


Ravenstein, E. G. (1885). The laws of migration. Journal of the Statistical Society of London, 48(2), 167-235.


Royuela, V. and Ordóñez, J. (2018). Internal migration in a developing country: A panel data analysis of Ecuador (1982-2010). Papers in Regional Science, 97(2), 345-367.


Ruiz, I. and Vargas-Silva, C. (2013). The economics of forced migration. The Journal of Development Studies, 49(6), 772-784.


Saabneh, A. (2019). Displaced and segregated: The socio-economic status of the second generation of internally displaced Palestinians in Israel. Population Studies, 73(1), 19-35.


Sahota, G. S. (1968). An economic analysis of internal migration in Brazil. Journal of Political Economy, 76(2), 218-245.


Salehyan, I. (2019). Conclusion: What academia can contribute to refugee policy? Journal of Peace Research, 56(1), 146-151.


Schmeidl, S. (1997). Exploring the causes of forced migration: A pooled time-series analysis, 1971-1990. Social Science Quarterly, 78(2), 284-308.

Schwartz, A. (1973). Interpreting the effect of distance on migration. Journal of Political Economy, 81(5), 1153-1169.


Serneels, P. and Verpoorten, M. (2015). The impact of armed conflict on economic performance: Evidence from Rwanda. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 59(4), 555-592.


Silva, A. C. and Massey, D. S. (2015). Violence, networks, and international migration from Colombia. International Migration, 53(5), 162-178.


Sirkeci, I. (2005). War in Iraq: environment of insecurity and international migration. International Migration, 43(4), 197-214.


Sirkeci, I. and Cohen, J. H. (2016). Cultures of migration and conflict in contemporary human mobility in turkey. European Review, 24(3), 381-396.


Sirkeci, I., Cohen, J. H., and Yazgan, P. (2012). Turkish culture of migration: Flows between turkey and Germany, socio-economic development and conflict. Migration Letters, 9(1), 33-46.


Sloan, M. K. and Morrison, P. S. (2015). The post-move satisfaction of internal migrants. Migration Studies, 4(1), 97-115.


Stark, O. (2006). Inequality and migration: A behavioral link. Economics Letters, 91(1), 146-152.


Stark, O., Micevska, M., and Mycielski, J. (2009). Relative poverty as a determinant of migration: Evidence from Poland. Economics Letters, 103(3), 119-122.


Van Hear, N., Bakewell, O., and Long, K. (2018). Push-pull plus: reconsidering the drivers of migration. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 44(6), 927-944.


Von Berlepsch, V. and Rodríguez-Pose, A. (2019). The missing ingredient: distance. Internal migration and its long-term economic impact in the United States. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.


Vullnetari, J. (2013). Links between internal and international migration. The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration.


Wajdi, N., Mulder, C. H., and Adioetomo, S. M. (2017). Inter-regional migration in Indonesia: a micro approach. Journal of Population Research, 34(3), 253-277.


Yano, K., Nakeya, T., Fotheringham, A. S., Openshaw, S., and Ishikawa, Y. (2003). A comparison of migration behaviour in japan and britain using spatial interaction models. International Journal of Population Geography, 9(5), 419-431.


Zhao, X. (2019). Migrants and urban wage: Evidence from China's internal migration. China Economic Review.





How to Cite

Laverde-Rojas, H., & Correa, J. C. (2020). Effects of the Geographical Distance on Economic Well-being: Evidence from Colombia with Emphasis on Displaced Population. Migration Letters, 17(2), 309–324. https://doi.org/10.59670/ml.v17i2.633