The purpose of this study is to examine the nature of racial inequality in Colombia with respect to its Afro-descendant population by analyzing the racial wage gap between Afro-Colombians and mestizos. It begins with a review of the historical background, taking note of the history of slavery, ethnic identity formation, persistent socioeconomic inequalities for the Colombia’s Afro-descendant population. Next, a theoretical framework is developed to analyze the racial wage gap that takes into account human capital, environmental and socio-spatial factors in the theoretical wage gap function. A fixed effects regression model for the racial wage gap that controls for structural variation by region is estimated and analyzed. Following the quantitative analysis, a series of interviews with Afro-Colombian rights activists and community organizers are presented and analyzed to assess the impact of racial discrimination in labor markets, housing markets and the education system in Colombia’s major urban areas. Finally, an overview and analysis of rightwing paramilitarism as it relates to the Afro-Colombian collective condition is presented along with a consideration of the relation of the afro condition to global processes.


Krause, Brooke


Global and International Studies


Labor Economics | Latin American Studies | Latina/o Studies | Migration Studies | Political Economy | Politics and Social Change | Race and Ethnicity | Work, Economy and Organizations


race, ethnicity, Afro-Latino, Afro-Colombian, Afro-diasporic, economics, political economy, urban sociology, economic sociology, wage gap, racial inequality, racial stratification, paramilitarism, imperialism, neoliberalism

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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