Juan Vargas


Selected publications

(2013) "Commodity Price Shocks and Civil Conflict: Evidence from Colombia" Review of Economic Studies Vol. 80 (4): 1384-1421 (with O.Dube).

(2016) "The Need for Enemies", Economic Journal Vol. 126 (593): 1018-1054 (with L. Fergusson, J. Robinson and R. Torvik).


(2016) "Economic Shocks and Crime: Evidence from the Crash of Ponzi Schemes", Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization Vol. 131: 263-275 (with. D. Cortés and J. Santamaría).

"The Crime Kuznets Curve", forthcoming Journal of Quantitative Criminology (with P. Buonanno and L. Fergusson).

(2015) "True Believers, Deserters, and Traitors: Who Leaves Insurgent Groups and WhyJournal of Conflict Resolution 59(5): 794-823 (with B. Oppenheim, A. Steele and M. Weintraub).



Other Publications

Journal Articles

(2015) "Vote Choice and Legacies of Violence: Evidence from the 2014 Colombian Presidential Elections", Research and Politics Vol. 2 (2) DOI: 10.1177/2053168015573348 (with T. Flores and M. Weintraub).

(2014) "Can SMS Technology Improve Low Take-up of Social Benefits?Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy Vol. 20(1): 61-81 (with M. Blanco).

(2012) "The Persistent Colombian Conflict: Subnational Analysis of the Duration of Violence" Defence and Peace Economics Vol. 23(2): 203-223.

(2012) "Sovereign Risk and Armed Conflict: An Event-study for Colombia" Defence and Peace Economics Vol. 23(2), pp. 185:201 (with A. Castañeda).

(2011) "Combatant Recruitment and the Outcome of War" Economics of Governance Vol. 12(1): 51-74 (with A. S. Mahmud).

(2011) "Rebellion, Repression and Welfare"Defence and Peace Economics Vol. 22(5): 563-579.

(2011) "Violence and Growth in Colombia: A Review of the Quantitative Literature" The Economics of Peace and Security Journal Vol. 6(2): 15-20 (with A. Riascos).

(2006) "The Severity of the Colombian Conflict Cross-Country Datasets versus New Micro Data" Journal of Peace Research 43(1): 99-115 (with J. Restrepo and M. Spagat).
Replication data

(2004) “The Dynamics of the Colombian Civil Conflict: A New Data SetHomo Oeconomicus 21(2): 396-428 (with J. Restrepo and M. Spagat).


Book Chapters



Working Papers

"The Perils of Top-down State Building: Evidence from Colombia's False Positives" submitted (with D. Acemoglu, L. Fergusson. J. Robinson and D. Romero)

"The Real Winner's Curse" submitted (with L. Fergusson, P. Querubín and N. Ruiz)






"Endogenous Taxation in Ongoing Internal Conflict: The Case of Colombia" (with A. Steele and J. Shapiro)


Publications in Spanish

Journal Articles

(2014) "El Lado Oscuro de la Equidad: Violencia y Equidad en el Desempeño Escolar" Desarrollo y Sociedad 74(2): 309-334 (with L. Gamboa and V. García),

(2012) "Seguridad democrática, presencia de la Policía y conflicto en Colombia", Desarrollo y Sociedad 69(1): 11-32 (con D. Cortés, M. Franco and L. Hincapié).

(2003) “Políticas Públicas Universales o Focalizadas: Ventajas y Desventajas. El Caso del SISBEN en Colombia” Revista Ruido Blanco, Vol 2. (1): pp. 19-33.

(2003) “Dolarizar, Flotar, CallarEcos de Economía, No. 16: pp. 49-64 (with L Fergusson).


Book chapters

(2016) "El entorno: ¿promotor o limitante?" En Berniell, L., De la Mata, D., Bernal, R., Camacho, A., Barrera-Osorio, F., Álvarez, F., Brassiolo, P., Vargas, J. F. RED 2016. Más habilidades para el trabajo y la vida: los aportes de la familia, la escuela, el entorno y el mundo laboral. Capítulo 5 (pg. 295-331), Bogotá: CAF.

(2014) "Inequidad Regional en Colombia", in Melendez, M. and A. Montengro (ed.): Equidad y Movilidad Social: Diagnósticos y Propuestas para la Transformación de la Sociedad ColombianaEdiciones Uniandes, p: 695-767. (with D. Cortés)

(2014) "Hitos del Conflicto y Riesgo País", in Arias, M. A., A. Camacho, A. M. Ibáñez, D. Mejía and C. Rodriguez (ed.): Costos Económicos y Sociales del Conflicto en Colombia ¿Cómo Construir un Posconflicto Sostenible?, Ediciones Uniandes (with A. Castañeda).
    Presentation in Congreso Colombiano de Economía, Universidad de los Andes

(2012) "Costos del Conflicto y Consideraciones Económicas para la Construcción de Paz", in Rettberg, A. (ed.): Construcción de Paz en Colombia, Ediciones Uniandes: 239-272.

(2006) “El Conflicto Colombiano: Quién Hizo Qué a Quién. Un Enfoque Cuantitativo (1988-2003)" in Gutierrez, F. (ed.): Nuestra Guerra Sin Nombre, Norma-Vitral, Bogota: 505-540 (with J. Restrepo and M. Spagat)
    Link to GoogleBooks


Other Publications (editorials, op-ed and commentary)

(2016) "Colombia: Dealing with Conservation", Science Vol. 354(6309): 190 (with N. Clerici, J. Richarson, F. Escobedo, J. Posada, M. Linares y A. Sanchez)


(2014) "Conflict, Crime and Violence in ColombiaPeace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy Vol. 20(1): 1-4 (with R. Caruso).

(2012) "Colombia: Introduction to a special issue of Defence and Peace EconomicsDefence and Peace Economics Vol. 23(2): 107-108 (with J. Brauer).

"Using Evidence to Build Effective Transitional Justice Policies in Colombia", Economists on Peace bog in Visions of Humanity, March 2017.


"Urbanización en América Latina en Perspectiva Comparada: El Rezago de Desarrollo", Focoeconomico.org, March 2017 


"Colombia at a Crossroads: Using Innovation, Collaboration, and Evaluation to Deliver Justice", International Development LSE blog, Feb. 2017


"Cómo la evidencia científica puede ayudar a la sostenibilidad del posconflicto en Colombia", Focoeconomico.org, Jan. 2017 


"How not to build a state: Evidence from Colombia", Vox, October 2016


"¿Qué pasó, Colombia?", Focoeconomico.org, Oct. 2016 (varios autores)


"Teoría Económica, Pirámides y Crimen", Vox Lacea, Sept. 2016


"Hábitat y Desarrollo Urbano: Diagnóstico y Retos para América Latina", Focoeconomico.org, Sept. 2016


"Adiós UribeFocoeconomico.org, July 2016

"Insurgent Defection in Civil War: Lessons from Colombia for Combating ISISPolitical Violence @ a Glance, Sept 2015


"Meritocracia y suerte en la relación entre distribución del ingreso y crimen", Focoeconomico.org, Sept 2015.


"How Did Guerrilla Violence Shape the 2014 Presidential Election in Colombia?", Political Violence @ a Glance, March 2015



"Information technologies can only partially ameliorate the low take-up of social benefits among forcibly displaced households in Colombia", Vox Lacea, June 2014.

"Algunas enseñanzas de la Economía Política para la actual campaña electoral", Coloquio.co, June 2014.

"Más razones para acabar el conflicto en Colombia", Focoeconomico.org, June 2014.

"The Criminal Kuznets Curve", Development that Works Blog (Inter American Development Bank), April 2014
     Spanish version: "La Curva Criminal de Kuznets", Desarrollo Efectivo, BID

     Also in Vox Lacea, February 2015

"Más allá de “divide y reinarás”: fomentar la guerra para aferrarse al poder", Focoeconomico.org, November 2013

"Don't Make War, Make Elections", Development that Works Blog (Inter American Development Bank), May 2013
     Spanish version: "No haga la guerra, haga elecciones", Desarrollo Efectivo, BID

"Sunlight disinfects, but beware of the shade!", Development that Works Blog (Inter American Development Bank), February 2013
     Spanish version: "El sol desinfecta, pero cuídese de la sombra" Desarrollo Efectivo, BID
     Another version: USIP/SIPRI blog, May 2013

"Pirámides Financieras y Crimen en Colombia", Focoeconomico.org, February 2013

"Los Saboteadores de la Paz", Focoeconomico.org, October 2012

"Los Retos del Nuevo Proceso de Paz con las FARC", Coloquio.co, October 2012

"Instituciones y Brechas Regionales en Colombia", Focoeconomico.org, May 2012

"Aprender a Disparar vs. Aprender a Quién Disparar", Focoeconomico.org, January 2012

"Cambiando armas por votos" Focoeconomico.org, October 2011

"Tres huevitos en una sartén con teflón" Focoeconomico.org, September 2011

"Los incentivos perversos de los buenos políticos" Focoeconomico.org, July 2011

"La luz del sol ¿El mejor desinfectante?" Focoeconomico.org, March 2011

El Lado Oscuro de la Fuerza. In Memoriam, Jack Hirshleifer (1925-2005)" Webpondo.org, September 2005

"Understanding Civil Wars: We Need Better Data" Economists for Peace and Security Newsletter, December 2004

“¿Cuanto sabemos sobre las guerras Civiles?Webpondo.org, October 2004

Equilibrio Competitivo en Economía, Lecciones de la Epistemología de la FísicaWebpondo.org, July 2003

Políticas Públicas Focalizadas o Universales ¿Dilema?Webpondo.org, January 2003


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