Subnational Social Inequality
This research agenda -which includes my first book project and a series of articles- conceptualizes subnational inequality, provides measurements, and examines its causes.
My book project, "When the State Minds the Gap: The Politics of Subnational Inequality in Latin America" asks why are some countries more successful than others at reducing subnational inequality in education and health outcomes. I suggest that place-sensitive politics, in addition to controlled decentralization, favors equalization in service provision across the territory. I develop and test this theory with a mixed-methods approach by combining controlled comparisons and process-tracing in Colombia and Peru.
-Subnational inequality in Latin America: Empirical and theoretical implications of moving beyond interpersonal inequality. Studies in Comparative International Development, 54(2) (2019), 185-209. (pdf)
-Place-sensitive policies in the provision of subnational public goods in Colombia. Latin American Politics and Society, 62(3) (2020), 94-122. (pdf)
-¿Qué es lo subnacional de la desigualdad subnacional? Una mirada interseccional a la desigualdad en Latinoamérica. Revista de Ciencia Política, 41(1) (2021), 103-133.
This project was motivated by the list of roads that the former rebel group FARC-EP submitted to Colombian authorities for reparation purposes. We embarked on a journey to understand the where, why, and how of these infrastructures.
-B De Barro. In Belicopedia. Universidad de los Andes Colombia, 2023. p. 26-36.
-What is the state made of? Coca, roads, and the materiality of state formation in the frontier. World Development, 141 (2021), 105395. (with Isabel Peñaranda-Currie and Simón Uribe) (pdf)
-Seeing like a Guerrilla: the logic of infrastructure in the building of insurgent orders. Geoforum, 133 (2022), 198-207. (with Isabel Peñaranda-Currie and Simón Uribe).
-Hacer el estado: carreteras, conflicto y órdenes locales en los territorios de las FARC. Revista de Estudios Sociales, (75) (2021), 87-100. (with Isabel Peñaranda-Currie and Simón Uribe)
Subnational Responses to Covid-19
How did subnational authorities respond to the Covid-19 pandemic? As part of the Observatory for the Containment of Covid-19 in the Americas, housed by the University of Miami, I led the Colombian effort to build a unique database of daily Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions in Colombia´s departments.
-Learning from Latin America: Coordinating Policy Responses across National and Subnational Levels to Combat COVID-19. COVID, 2023, vol. 3, no 9, p. 1500-1515. (with Michael Touchton, Felicia Knaul, Héctor Arreola-Ornelas, and others).
-Strengthening Health Systems To Face Pandemics: Subnational Policy Responses To COVID-19 In Latin America. Health Affairs, 2022, vol. 41, no 3, p. 454-462. (with Michael Touchton, Felicia Knaul, Héctor Arreola-Ornelas, and others).
-A partisan pandemic: state government public health policies to combat COVID-19 in Brazil. BMJ global health, 2021, vol. 6, no 6, p. e005223. (with Michael Touchton, Felicia Knaul, Héctor Arreola-Ornelas, and others).
The data for Colombia is open access here.
To cite the data: Silvia Otero-Bahamon, Observatorio para la Contención del Covid-19 en las Américas, and Semillero UROSARIO para la Contención del Covid-19 en Colombia (2022). "Subnational Policy Adoption Index, Country: Colombia". Dataset.
source of picture: COVID-19 cases by territories of the countries of South America.svg. In Wikipedia. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:COVID-19_cases_by_territories_of_the_countries_of_South_America.svg
Why do some cities reduce their income inequality while others stagnate? This project focuses on four Colombian cities that over the last 18 years have experienced different trends in income inequality: Barranquilla, Bucaramanga, Pereira, and Cartagena. While Colombia as a whole has had a modest reduction in income inequality compared to other Latin American countries, when we scale down and observe the city level, very different trajectories come to light: some cities have had a notable reduction, while others face stagnation. This project aims to explain the causes of such variation by employing a vast variety of methods. Quantitative analyses of Gini decomposition, labor market data, and educational attainment are embedded in a combination of process-tracing and controlled comparisons.
I have worked with co-authors at Universidad Tecnológica de Bolívar and Universidad del Rosario to complete some products related to this project. Articles and Working Papers published results on the quantitative analyses, and an ongoing book project builds on these to arrive at a comprehensive response to the original question.
Other Published Work
-Colombia 2022: Del fin de la guerra al gobierno del cambio (with Sandra Botero, Laura García and Sebastián Londoño). Revista de Ciencia Política (2023). Twitter thread
-Racionalidad Rodolfista y Encanto Populista. In Gustavo Petro vs. Rodolfo Hernández. ¿Dos Populismos Encontrados? (pp. 1-22). Universidad del Rosario, Bogotá, 2023 (with Rodrigo Barrenechea).
Manuscripts in Preparation