The Economics of the Colombia-FARC Peace Accord

Why Selling the Deal Based on Expected GDP Gains Is Shortsighted

Colombiab President Juan Manuel Santos declares a definitive ceasefire with FARC in Bogota, Colombia, August 2016. John Vizcaino / REUTERS

The signing of a peace accord between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the leftist guerrilla group, in November 2016 might mark the beginning of the end of a 53-year-old conflict. In its efforts to sell the ongoing peace process, the government has focused in large part on the deal’s economic merits. Government officials and research papers have emphasized that a strong and lasting peace will bring key benefits. But for the past two years in Colombia, discussions about the benefits have seemed to focus on one key element: the number of percentage points it is likely to add to the national gross domestic product (GDP).  

Implementing the deal will be far from easy. De-escalation of the conflict was followed by a cease-fire in August 2016, and demobilization of FARC fighters accelerated in early 2017. But opponents of the country’s peace deal are set to make

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