Miguel Urrutia (1939-2024): pioneering social economist

Miguel Urrutia (1939-2024): pioneering social economist
Miguel Urrutia (1939-2024): pioneering social economist

The Universidad de los Andes deeply regrets the death of Miguel Urrutia, who was associated for several decades with the Faculty of Economics and was an influential figure in the social economy of Colombia. He was one of the pioneers in researching the national economic situation, studying unionism from an academic point of view, and contributed to the public sector with a great spirit of service.

Raquel Bernal Salazar, rector, highlights that Miguel Urrutia’s legacy in the national economy has been invaluable for the well-being of generations of Colombians. “As a pioneer, mentor and academic dedicated to economics, art and culture, his work at Uniandes and his focus on modern social economy left an indelible mark. He inspired us to work for a more just and prosperous future for all Colombians. I will always remember our shared interest in nutrition and early education issues. He never missed any of my events. His wisdom, humor and commitment will always be remembered. We deeply regret his passing.”

During his 11 years as central banker, he managed to lower double-digit inflation and confront the economic recession of 1999. It is thanks to him that, according to experts, the country now has a consolidated financial system.

But economics was not his only passion. Urrutia was also important in the cultural management of the Banco de la República collections. Some of his collections were donated and are now in museums. Due to his fondness for Japanese Ukiyo-e prints, the country has several works of this popular art from 1615.

His life marked milestones in academia and research. “His impact on the social economy addressed issues of social mobility and unionism, which consolidated him as the first modern social economist in the country,” said Alejandro Gaviria, former rector of Los Andes, during the discussion ‘Miguel Urrutia as an academic’.

You may also be interested in: Three researchers from the Universidad de los Andes highlight the work of economist Miguel Urrutia in academia.

Miguel Urrutia left a deep mark on the Faculty of Economics at Uniandes over several stages. He was director of the Center for Studies on Economic Development (CEDE) (1965-1967), research professor (1967-1968), and professor (1992-2004). Since 2005, he has held the position of full professor and stood out as an exceptional educator and mentor to many of the country’s great economists and a great colleague.

His educational legacy includes fundamental courses such as: Economic History of Colombia, Colombian Economic Policy, Seminar on Economic History, Seminar on Economic Policy and Trade Unionism, Seminar on Trade Unionism and Social Movements, and Introduction to the Colombian Economy, among others, educating multiple generations with his profound knowledge and dedication.

His extensive record of publications throughout his career stands out, including joint works with his students at Uniandes such as ‘Social Policy for Equity in Colombia’, co-authored with Christian Robles in 2021, and ‘The Actors in the Economic Crisis at the End of the Century’, with Jorge Llano in 2011. From his extensive record of publications throughout his career, we highlight joint works with those who were his students at Uniandes: ‘Social Policy for Equity in Colombia’, co-authored with Christian Robles in 2021, and ‘The Actors in the Economic Crisis at the End of the Century’, with Jorge Llano in 2011.

In his honor, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Faculty of Economics, was created Miguel Urrutia Fund which benefits new students who begin their studies in the first semester of each year at this Faculty.

“He was one of the first economists to study inequality in Colombia and the role of unions. He was also a pioneer in the study of public transport; in fact, at Fedesarrollo, he bought a bus to better understand how it works on the ground,” said Leopoldo Fergusson, director of CEDE, in the video recognizing Miguel Urrutia’s professional career for the Dejar Huella awards.

Today, the University of the Andes extends its deepest condolences to his family and friends.

Learn more at: Miguel Urrutia, a life between economics and art.


On video: A recognition of Miguel Urrutia’s professional career


 
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