Tovar, Jorge

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Tovar, Jorge

Tovar, Jorge

Ph.D. Economía, University of California, Berkeley


Posición: Profesor Asociado

Oficina: W-825

Extensión: 3401

Publicaciones recientes
Columnas en medios de comunicación
Enlaces de interés
Documentos de trabajo


Profesor Asociado

Ph.D. Economía, University of California, Berkeley.

Economista, Universidad de los Andes.

Áreas de interés

Comercio Internacional.
Organización Industrial.
Historia Económica.
Economía del Deporte.

Cursos que dicta en 2020-2

Comercio Internacional
Memoria de Grado

Publicaciones recientes

Si no consigue uno de mis artículos, por favor envíeme un correo electrónico a
Please feel free to email me if you need a paper of mine


“Soccer, World War II and coronavirus: a comparative analysis of how the sport shut down” in Soccer & Society

In 2020 the world faces an unprecedented challenge consequence of the coronavirus pandemic. Soccer, arguably, one of the most globalized industries, has reacted to the event by closing down much of its operations. This paper reviews the speed and breadth of such closures and compares it to another major event in history: The Second World War. During the latter, soccer continued operations despite the apparent difficulties. Total closures were, for the most part, temporary, and the sport was practiced whenever possible. The way that soccer operated during the war contrasts with how it has responded to the COVID-19 crisis. In record time, virtually all leagues in the world stopped operations, and for the first time since its foundation, with but a few exceptions, there were no games anywhere in the world.

“Performance, diversity and national identity: evidence from association football” Economic Inquiry Vol. 58 (2) pp. 897-916

The increasing national diversity of coworkers has no consensus on its impact on performance. Using a team's predominant nationality as a proxy for national diversity and national identity, there is robust evidence that it affects team and individual performance. Detailed worker‐level data from a highly globalized industry, association football, show a nonlinear relationship between performance and the predominant nationality of a team's roster. As the number of members from the predominant nationality increases, performance declines. However, beyond a threshold level, performance rises. It follows that performance benefits from national diversity when the predominant nationality is small and from national identity when it is large.

(Joint with Urdinola, P.) Home and Market Production Time Use Differentials in Colombia. In Time Use and Transfers in the Americas Piedad Urdinola y Jorge Tovar editores. Ed. Springer

This chapter studies the time use patterns by age and sex in Colombia using the 2012 time use survey. Over the past three decades, Colombia experienced a fast demographic transition with a spectacular increase in educational coverage for primary and secondary levels, regardless of gender. However, the Time Transfers Accounts portrait a double burden for women who devote most of their time to unpaid domestic housework at all ages, including post retirement ages, mostly due to child caring activities. The gap is larger once educational attainment is taken into account. Thus, the gender gap shrinks as the level of education rises. Our estimates imply that women with the lowest educational attainment devote three times more time to unpaid housework at age 20 than the most educated women. Higher education seems to be a double protector for women as it relates to postponement and fertility reduction, as well as increasing the probability of having a paid job easing access to formal retirement.

(Joint with Donehower, G., Urdinola, P.) The Use of Time Across the Americas: Colombia, Costa Rica, United States and Uruguay. In Time Use and ransfers in the Americas Piedad Urdinola y Jorge Tovar editores. Ed. Springer

Exploiting the standardized methodology described in chapter II, this chapter portraits similarities and differences of time use accounts per gender across the countries included in this book: Colombia, Costa Rica, Uruguay and the United States of America (USA). A common finding is that, despite the differences in development levels and population size, men devote more time to paid work than women, who in turn dedicate more time to unpaid domestic work. The value of unpaid domestic work, around one third of each country’s GDP, is not negligible in any of these economies and calls for policy action to account for this significant portion of the economy. Detailed analysis finds that in all the sample countries there is no gender gap in educational attainment until age 20. Beyond age 20, however, the use of time varies across countries. Childcare is the activity that demands most of women’s time, particularly during motherhood, and therefore it is the onset of this activity and the age-fertility levels what shapes time use for women at different ages.These findings reflect the slow pace of social change and, regarding the development level of the country, the gender role differentiation persists.

(Joint with Carriazo, F.) Arborización y hurto a peatones en Bogotá in “Economía y Seguridad en el Post Conflicto” Hernando Zuleta editor. Ed.Uniandes.

La relación entre vegetación y criminalidad ha sido motivo de investigación reciente entre estudiosos del entorno urbano. Se argumenta que si bien la vegetación puede tener efectos positivos sobre la salud humana, por otro lado podría relacionarse con unamayor propensión a determinadas actividades criminales La literatura existente sobre el tema se concentra en estudios de caso en países desarrollados. Este estudio es el primer esfuerzo por cuantificar dicha relación en un país emergente. Utilizando datos censales y georreferenciados de árboles en Bogotá (Colombia) se logra establecer que el proceso de arborización tiene un efecto positivo sobre la criminalidad de la ciudad. Específicamente, mediante modelos econométricos espaciales se encuentra que el acto de plantar árboles tiene efectos estadísticos y económicos negativos sobre el hurto a personas.

Sugary drinks taxation, projected consumption and fiscal revenues in Colombia: Evidence from a QUAIDS model
Link to paper/Enlace al artículo (Free download)

The global shift towards diets high in sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) is linked to higher prevalence of obesity, diabetes and most other non-communicable diseases. In Colombia, one out of every two people was overweight or obese by 2010. This study estimates price-elasticities from a Quadratic Almost Ideal Demand System model, using the 2006–2007 Colombian Income and Expenditure survey. The food groups that were jointly considered were: unsweetened unflavored milks; coffee and tea; sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs); sweets and candies (including sugar); dairy products; meats and animal-based products; grains based staples; fruits and vegetables; and condiments and snacks. We take into account the high proportion of households not purchasing specific food and beverage groups (censored data) and endogeneity on both prices (as unit values) and total expenditure. Unhealthy beverages are price-elastic (-1.61 for SSBs) meaning that the change in consumption is proportionally larger with respect to a change in price. Also, there is a high complementarity among SSBs and major food groups (grains, meats and fruits and vegetables). In Colombia, the design of a meaningful tax to influence healthier diets is a next critical step. This study also shows that a tax of 20% on SSBs should prove to be effective, and can yield revenues of about 1% of the Colombian government’s total annual fiscal revenue, which can potentially be directed towards public health promotion and investments.

The Impact of Social Safety Net Programs on Household Savings in Colombia
Link to paper/Enlace al artículo

This paper seeks to understand and quantify how social safety net programs impact household savings in developing countries, considering the case of Colombia using two complementary approaches. The first approach explores how the health regime affects savings in the country. The second evaluates the impact on savings of familias en acción, a major antipoverty conditional cash transfer program. The results suggest that the savings of informal households are higher than those of formal households, because, with little incentives to enter the formal job market, informal households need to cover slightly greater non-covered risks. The results also show that familias en acción recipients save more than do non-recipients because recipients favorably adjust their expenditure patterns.

El potencial de la política de vivienda.
Link a la descarga gratis del libro / Free download

Acceso a la vivienda de la clase media: su capacidad de ahorro
Link a la descarga gratis del libro / Free download

Gasping for Air: Soccer players’ passing behavior at high altitude.
Link to article/enlace al artículo

A number of soccer officials have long debated whether to ban soccer games played at high altitude above sea level. This paper explores soccer player’s passing behavior when playing at high elevations using Copa Libertadores data. For this, I propose a range of direct indicators when playing at high altitude: the number of total passes, the number of passes in the opposition’s half, and the number of successful passes. I also review the effects on the percentage of successful passes and the percentage of successful passes in the opponents’ half of the field. Player’s passing abilities are compared for games played away above 2500 m (8202 feet) vis-à-vis those held below that threshold. The results show that the percentage of successful passes rises by about 5.6 percentage points, mostly driven by each player’s behavior in his own half. Following earlier findings by Romer (2006) and Palacios-Huerta(2014), who state that players behave conservatively under certain circumstances, I argue that players' have prior believes about the effects of playing at high altitude and consequently their risk aversion to lose the ball increases.

Case Study of Mesoamerica.
Link to chapter/enlace al capítulo

This chapter explores and draws lessons from the effectiveness of aid for trade (AFT) in multi-country and regional projects in Mesoamerica for the period 2007-12.This is done by identifying and qualitatively analysing how close projects came to meeting their proposed goals. The results suggest that regional AFT initiatives have, for the most part, been effective. However, achievements can be enhanced via greater knowledge of the initiative among policy makers and other stakeholders. Co-ordination among agencies is satisfactory although there is room to improve efficiency when human capital constraints are binding in multi-country projects. There is no clear strategy to guarantee cross-country enforcement for regional projects that try to implement regional norms or standards. The initiative could co-ordinate projects to fully acquire the benefits beyond those of the individual project itself. In doing so, it can benefit from a number of externalities in terms of promoting trade and economic growth.

Is low fertility really a problem? Population aging, dependency, and consumptionn.
Link to Science/enlace a Science
Science.low_fertility FSV.pdf

Ronald Lee, Andrew Mason, Jorge Tovar, Piedad Urdinola and other members of the NTA Network 2014 "Is low fertility really a problem? Population aging, dependency, and consumption" Science. 346(6206) 229-234. DOI: 10.1126/science.1250542. Final submitted version available. This is the author`s version of the work. It is posted here by permission of the AAAS for personal use, not for redistribution.

The Definitive version was published in Science on 346 10 October 2014, DOI: 10.1126/science.1250542 Published version available at

Longer lives and fertility far below the replacement level of 2.1 births per woman are leading to rapid population aging in many countries. Many observers are concerned that aging will adversely affect public finances and standards of living. Analysis of newly available National Transfer Accounts data for 40 countries shows that fertility well above replacement would typically be most beneficial for government budgets. However, fertility near replacement would be most beneficial for standards of living when the analysis includes the effects of age structure on families as well as governments. And fertility below replacement would maximize per capita consumption when the cost of providing capital for a growing labor force is taken into account. Although low fertility will indeed challenge government programs and very low fertility undermines living standards, we find that moderately low fertility and population decline favor the broader material standard of living.

Inequality in National Inter-Generational Transfers: Evidence from Colombia. Joint with Piedad Urdinola. International Advances in Economic Research.
Link to article/enlace al artículo

Public transfers are designed with the idea of reducing poverty and inequality among specific population groups. The National Transfers Account methodology suggests the use of household head education (HHE) as a poverty proxy in the construction of profiles by socio-economic status. Considering the higher levels of inequality in developing countries, we construct and check inequality and intergenerational transfers using an alternative measure based on variables not endogenous to the underlying idea of intergenerational transfers: a Multidimensional Quality of Life Index (MQLI). We apply the methodology to a developing country, Colombia, and show that inequality and disparities in intergenerational transfers are best understood when using the MQLI.

Números Redondos: Leyendas y Estadísticas del Fútbol Mundial.
Link to book description / enlace a descripción del libro

Leyendas y estadísticas del fútbol mundial ¿Quién ha sido el mejor futbolista de todos los tiempos?, ¿el goleador más temible?, ¿cuál la mejor selección?, ¿el mejor club?, ¿el más grande entrenador? A partir de cifras y estadísticas, incluidas en medio de divertidas e interesantes anécdotas, Números redondos contribuye a resolver los interrogantes que más apasionan a los aficionados. Asimismo, se sirve de datos para ilustrar toda clase de realidades del fútbol actual: la extraordinaria productividad goleadora de jugadores como Messi, Falcao y Cristiano Ronaldo; el papel determinante de la dupla Xavi-Iniesta en el éxito de la selección española; el inusual pico de rendimiento de la selección Colombia clasificada a Brasil 2014; la relación directamente proporcional entre los procesos cortos y los mediocres o inconstantes resultados de los equipos colombianos; el favoritismo de los árbitros por los clubes grandes, entre otras muchas más.

Estas y otras curiosidades conforman este libro, llamado a convertirse en el texto de cabecera de todos

Consumers’ Welfare and Trade Liberalization: Evidence from the Car Industry in Colombia. World Development.
Link to article/enlace al artículo

This paper examines the effects of tariff removal on consumers’ welfare focusing on the Colombian trade liberalization process and its automobile industry. Using product level data this paper calculates the post-reform gains in consumers’ welfare to be just below three thousand dollars per purchaser. Counterfactual simulations suggest that the gains achieved are due, for the most part, to increased variety rather than to price competition.

Risk, Concentration and Market Power in the Banking Industry: Evidence from the Colombian System (1997-2006) (Joint with Christian Jaramillo and Carlos Hernández). Banks and Bank Systems
Link to artícle (open acces)/enlace al artículo

This paper examines the relationship between risk, concentration and the exercise of market power by banking institutions. We use monthly balance-sheet and interest rate data for the Colombian banking system from 1997 to 2006. The evidence shows that, in the face of high risk, banks transfer a larger share of risk to customers through higher intermediation margins. The result suggests that risk acts as a “collusion” device for banks: while high concentration is not enough to have collusion, the true effects of high market concentration on interest rates’ mark-ups emerge when the system is under stress.

La Manumisión en Colombia: 1821 -1851 Un análisis cuantitativo.
Link to book / enlace al libro

El objetivo de este trabajo es presentar y analizar el proceso de manumisión a la luz de nueva información cuantitativa que hasta la fecha se encontraba reposando tanto en el Archivo General de la Nación en Bogotá como en el Archivo Histórico de Antioquia en Medellín. En el proceso de manumisión participan varios de los actores de la sociedad del siglo XIX. Están los señores y también los manumitidos, pero además participa activamente el Estado. Este último recolectaba impuestos destinados específicamente a la manumisión y entregaba a cambio billetes, certificados y vales. Como primer paso de una agenda de investigación más amplia este documento se centra en los individuos directamente relacionados con el proceso de liberación de los esclavos. En particular se utilizará información a nivel individual tanto de los esclavos como de los dueños. Aunque existe información agregada adicional, este trabajo se centra en la descripción de esta base de datos que es lo suficientemente amplia y generosa como para permitir sacar conclusiones novedosas sobre el proceso de manumisión en Colombia. Este trabajo describe quienes fueron los manumitidos, de dónde provenían y el precio de su libertad. Por otra parte se estudia a los esclavistas, su procedencia y se explica su comportamiento por medio de la información de precios de manumisión disponibles. Es por tanto, éste, un primer esfuerzo para sistematizar una información que ha tardado más de dos años en recolectarse y que permite tener una visión cuantitativa nacional de la manumisión, un punto de vista diferente al regional que hasta hoy ha primado en la literatura.

Common Knowledge Reference Price and Asymmetric Price Adjustments:Evidence from the Retail Gasoline Market in Colombia (joint with Marc Hofstteter)
Link to article / enlace al artículo

There is abundant empirical evidence showing that asymmetric price adjustments exist in a wide variety of markets. Prices tend to rise faster when costs rise, relative to the rate at which prices drop when costs fall. This paper argues that a common knowledge reference price – a government suggested retail price – eases the existence of asymmetric price adjustments in a scenario where costs are ever-increasing. Our analysis of the Colombian retail gasoline market suggests that when costs rise by more than the reference price, prices tend to rise more slowly relative to when costs grow by less than the reference price.

El Oscuro Camino de la Libertad: Los esclavos en Colombia 1821 -1851 (en colaboración con Hermes Tovar Pinzón)
Link to book / enlace al libro

Este trabajo estudia el proceso de liberación de los esclavos en Colombia que formalmente se inició en 1821 y que no concluyó sino treinta años después, en 1851. El contenido del libro se organiza en dos grandes secciones. En la primera, se analizan y describen con detalle las razones políticas, económicas y sociales que llevaron a iniciar el proceso de manumisión en Colombia. La segunda gran sección recopila, sistematiza y examina de manera cuantitativa la evolución del proceso y los diferentes aspectos relacionados.

Así, mientras que el primer capítulo recrea el contexto histórico en el cual se da el proceso de manumisión, no sólo en Colombia sino en América Latina, el segundo revisa la institucionalidad del proceso como determinante para explicar el largo período de tiempo que se tardó en liberar los esclavos colombianos.

A continuación, se trabaja con una base de datos única que revela que aproximadamente 50.000 colombianos negros fueron liberados directa e indirectamente gracias al proceso de manumisión. Además, se concluye que la gradualidad del proceso iba más allá del debate ético; era una necesidad presupuestaria. La realidad social, donde los esclavos eran un activo de los amos hizo imposible que la liberación se diera en pocos años.

Caracterización del Ahorro de los hogares en Colombia
Enlace al artículo/link to the article

Este trabajo realiza un exhaustivo ejercicio descriptivo y analítico del ahorro de los hogares en Colombia. Con este fin, se construye la variable ahorro a partir de la Encuesta de Calidad de Vida de 1997 y 2003. El trabajo concluye que en Colombia la capacidad de ahorro se centra, casi exclusivamente, en los hogares con mayores ingresos. A su vez, estos son más afectados por la variabilidad del ingreso, y son los que intentan estabilizar el gasto. El resto de la población, en cambio, apenas sí registra variaciones en el ingreso, y son sus gastos los que presentan una variabilidad significativa. El estudio muestra también que la población que ahorra logra su tope cuando el jefe de hogar supera los cuarenta años. Este resultado es consistente tanto si se analiza a la población por cohortes como si se analiza la sección cruzada de la misma.

Columnas en medios de comunicación


Documentos de trabajo

National Transfer Accounts for Colombia

(2018) This paper develops for the first time the National Transfers Accounts for Colombia. It estimates the age profiles for all income and expenses in the economy flowing from the government to households and vice versa, as well as flows within and across households. The methodology allows us to describe each age group’s production and consumption levels, their savings capacity, and how the different age groups support each other. This document shows that the lifecycle deficit is influenced by low-income which is driven in large part by the prevalence of informality. This hinders the much-needed increase in savings required to exploit the demographic dividend. It also concludes that most public transfers are devoted to the eldest rather than the youngest, but still the former rely on family support rather than public transfers. In this sense, the paper sheds light on upcoming policy debates necessary to guarantee sustainability and self-sufficiency in an aging economy.

Time Use and Gender in Colombia

(2017) This paper studies the use of time distribution between paid and unpaid activities across age and gender in Colombia’s households. Using the National Time Transfer Account methodology, we generate age profiles for paid and unpaid activities, as well as household time produced, consumed and transferred per gender. We find that male devote more time to labor market activities, leisure, and sleep. Women, in contrast, dedicate disproportionately more time to unpaid domestic housework, particularly childcare. There is not a significant gender gap in time consumed. Time use gender differentials are core to decisions on issues such as labor market participation and with it the accompanying social security contributions easing future access to pension benefits. These long-term effects have a critical macro impact in an aging society.

A strategy to predict association football players’ passing skills

(2017) Transfers are big business in association football. This paper develops a generalized additive mixed model that aids managers in predicting how a football player is expected to perform in a new team. It does so by using event-level data from the Spanish and the Colombian football leagues. Using passes as a performance proxy, the model exploits the richness of the data to account for the difficulty of each pass attempt performed by each player over an entire season. The model estimates are then used to determine how a player transferred from the Colombian league should perform in the Spanish league, taking into account that teammates and rivals’ abilities are different in the latter.

Arborización y crimen urbano en Bogotá

(2016) La relación entre vegetación y criminalidad ha sido motivo de investigación reciente entre estudiosos del entorno urbano. Se argumenta que si bien la vegetación puede tener efectos positivos sobre la salud humana, por otro lado podría relacionarse con una mayor propensión a determinadas actividades criminales La literatura existente sobre el tema se concentra en estudios de caso en países desarrollados. Este estudio es el primer esfuerzo por cuantificar dicha relación en un país emergente. Utilizando datos censales y georreferenciados de árboles en Bogotá (Colombia) se logra establecer que el proceso de arborización tiene un efecto positivo sobre la criminalidad de la ciudad. Específicamente, mediante modelos econométricos espaciales se encuentra que el acto de plantar árboles tiene efectos estadísticos y económicos negativos sobre el hurto a personas.

Trade and Labor Markets: Evidence From the Colombian Trade Liberalization Process (Joint with Christian Jaramillo)

jaramillo-tovar trade and labor markets 2006-08-01.pdf

The objective of this paper is to measure the impact of trade on the sectoral labor markets. Using the Colombian National Household Survey and comparable trade-related data, we study how changes in trade policy affect the sectoral demands for labor, as measured by the change in wages and employment. We develop a structural model and estimate its reduced-form specification to determine an elasticity between measures of sectoral tariffs and labor demand, correcting for tariff endogeneity. The data used covers the period of 1984 through 1999. This allows us to take advantage of the natural experiment represented by the Colombian trade liberalization process of the early nineties. The results suggest that sector tariff levels over the period are positively correlated with their employment levels, but only for tradable sectors. In the case of wages, there is no evidence that they were affected by the trade reform.