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Quality of Work Life in Colombia: A Multidimensional Fuzzy Indicator


Quality of work (QoW) encompasses multiple objective and subjective dimensions, which may include labor income, job stability, job satisfaction, and social security. This paper follows the method proposed by Gómez-Salcedo et al. (2013) that introduces a new way of measuring QoW, which consists of (1) the use of Sen’s functioning and capabilities approach and (2) a fuzzy sets method to define membership to the sets of good job quality. Using the Gran Encuesta Integrada de Hogares, we obtain results at the national level about age, gender, educational level, firm size, and industry sector. The results are consistent with previous literature. One topic that is highlighted from our results is the existence of a “Quality of Work Life Cycle”, with higher levels of the index up to age 30, that may have critical implications for the social security system; people with lower quality jobs may not be contributing to health and pension funds, leaving many people without access to a retirement fund and implying more demands on the subsidized system to cover health expenses.

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  1. 1.

    For a review of how the QoW concept has been dealt with in the academic literature, see Martel and Dupuis (2006) and Dahl et al. (2009).

  2. 2.

    The self-employed will be any person resident in the country whose revenues come in at or above eighty percent (80 %) of the making and service delivery at their own risk, of economic activities identified according to Law 1607/2012 and Decree 3032/2013.

  3. 3.

    According to the National Administrative Department of Statistics-(DANE informal workers are persons who during the reference period were in one of the following situations: (1) Individual employees and workers who work in establishments, businesses or enterprises employing up to five persons in all its branches and agencies including the employer and/or members; (2) family workers not compensated in companies with five employees or less; (3) workers not compensated in companies or businesses from other households; (4) domestic workers in firms with five or fewer workers; (5) Laborers in companies of five employees or less; (6) self-employed persons working in establishments up to five people, excluding independent professionals; (7) employers in companies with five employees or less; (8) workers or government employees are excluded.

  4. 4.

    Political divisions of Colombia correspond to municipalities, departments and regions.

  5. 5.

    This group represents minors under the Colombian regulations.


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This research was was made possible by a grant from Colombia’s national research council, COLCIENCIAS, which, during 2014, funded research exchange visits between the University of Barcelona and the Observatorio del Caribe Colombiano. Vicente Royuela was thereby able to visit the Observatorio in Cartagena de Indias and Mónica Gómez-Salcedo was able to visit the University of Barcelona. Any errors are responsibility of the authors alone. Vicente Royuela also acknowledges the support of ECO2013-41022-R.

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Correspondence to Vicente Royuela.


Appendix 1

See Table 2.

Table 2 Unemployment Rate in OECD and South American Countries, 2005 and 2013

Appendix 2

See Table 3.

Table 3 Job Quality Index in Colombia: literature review

Appendix 3

See Table 4.

Table 4 Dimensions and variables to the quality of work index, descriptive statistics

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Gómez-Salcedo, M.S., Galvis-Aponte, L.A. & Royuela, V. Quality of Work Life in Colombia: A Multidimensional Fuzzy Indicator. Soc Indic Res 130, 911–936 (2017).

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  • Quality of work
  • Fuzzy sets
  • Labor market
  • Colombia

JEL Classification

  • J81
  • J89
  • J46
  • C02