COLMOD – simulating tax and benefit policies for development in Colombia

COLMOD is freely accessible for non-commercial research use. You may request access to the model here.

COLMOD, the tax-benefit microsimulation model for Colombia, is a highly versatile yet easy to use tool for policymakers and researchers alike. It allows the user to analyse and compare the effects of different benefit policy scenarios on poverty, inequality, and government revenues. The model applies user-defined tax and benefit policy rules to micro-data on individuals and households and calculates the effects of these rules on household income.

With COLMOD, users can simulate reforms of the Colombian tax and benefit system. They can estimate, for example, the number of beneficiaries and analyse the characteristics of the prospective recipients of a hypothetical benefit. COLMOD also allows users to implement hypothetical income tax and social security reforms and calculate their effects on inequality and the government budget. Existing policies or past policy reforms can be evaluated as well.

COLMOD can answer for example following questions:

  • Are the prospective recipients of a new cash transfer already eligible for other benefits?  
  • How much would a new cash transfer cost for the government?  
  • How could tax rates be increased to offset the additional cost of the cash transfer? 
  • How would an increase in income tax rates influence poverty and inequality?

Possible policy reform simulations in COLMOD include for example:

  • a universal child benefit  
  • expanding the subsidised pension programme to all elderly in poverty 
  • a tax credit for formal workers

However, the model allows the simulation of a multitude of other policy reforms as well. In addition to different taxes and social insurance contributions, COLMOD includes social assistance policies for pensioners (Colombia Mayor), families with children (Familias en Accion), students in tertiary education (Jovenes en Acción) and the unemployed (Subsidio de Desempleo).

COLMOD has been developed by Universidad Externado de Colombia and updated in collaboration with UNU-WIDER and Xavier Jara from the International Inequalities Institute at the London School of Economics and Political Science. The latest version of COLMOD is based on the Great Integrated Household Survey (GEIH) 2019 and 2020, allowing for representative results at the national level. Policies are simulated for the years 2014–2023.


SOUTHMOD user manual
Country report v2.4