Colombia Diaspora

Ricardo Hausmann

Ricardo Hausmann

Rafik Hariri Professor of the Practice of International Political Economy, HKS

Ricardo Hausmann is the founder and Director of Harvard’s Growth Lab and the Rafik Hariri Professor of the Practice of International Political Economy at...

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Office Address: Rubenstein-338

Mailing Address
John F. Kennedy School of Government
Mailbox 34
79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Assistant: Alexandra Villegas
p: 617-496-3740
Hausmann, R. & Bustos, S., 2021. New Avenues for Colombia’s Internationalization: Trade in Tasks.Abstract

One of the consequences of COVID-19 is the recognition that many tasks can be done from home. But anything that can done remotely, can be done from abroad.

Given large salary differences between white collar workers across countries, it would make sense for value chains to try to exploit them. This opens an opportunity for Colombia to further promote its integration into the world global value chains and access new markets.

This paper explores the possibility of exporting teleworkable services from Colombia. The goal is to provide useful information to guide strategic interventions to speed-up the development of such service industries in Colombia.

We first introduce a definition of teleworkable jobs and describe its occupations and industries along different dimensions. We show that there are many teleworkable jobs in the US, representing a significant share of industry costs. Then, we show that many industries intensive in teleworkable jobs are currently traded across borders. To quantify Colombia’s advantage providing teleworkable services, we study the cost structure of industries and quantify the potential savings in overall costs if the tasks were performed by Colombians. Given Colombia’s current presence and the density around teleworkable industries we can calculate a proxy of the latent advantage in teleworkable services. We propose an index that summarize these dimensions and rank the potential gains from including telework from Colombia in an industry. We end with a set of policy recommendations to move this agenda forward.

The Role of the Diaspora in the Internationalization of the Colombian Economy

After surveying over 30% of the diaspora of Colombia, Growth Lab researchers and their co-authors studied a number of factors related to this diaspora.

In this Growth Lab podcast, Ana Grisanti interviews Professors Ricardo Hausmann, Annalee Saxenian, and Ljubica Nedlkoska, who describe the internationalization mission in Colombia, the role of the diaspora in this mission, and the policy implications of this research.

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Grisanti, A., et al., 2021. Colombian Diaspora Survey Results Dashboard. Explore DashboardAbstract
As part of the "Role of the Diaspora in the Internationalization of the Colombian Economy" project, Growth Lab researchers surveyed 11,500 members of the Colombian diaspora, located in well over 100 countries. They studied the migration journeys, the diaspora’s attachment to Colombia, the level of diaspora engagement and interest in engaging, the intentions to return back home, the interest in diaspora government policy, and the overall sentiment of the diaspora towards Colombia.

Engaging Diasporas Around the World

On April 1, 2021, researchers at the Growth Lab shared insights and approaches to understanding global diasporas and diaspora engagement. Not all diaspora groups are equal, and they interact with their host country in a myriad of ways. The Growth Lab has worked in several contexts, including Albania, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Ethiopia, Jordan, among others, and shared an overview of what we have learned and implications for future research and policy implementation.


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Jessie Lu headshot

Jessie Lu

Former Research Assistant

Jessie Lu started at the Center for International Development’s Growth Lab as a Research Assistant in August 2019. Prior to joining the Growth Lab, she...

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