Repression and punishment in North Korea: survey evidence of prison camp experiences
AbstractThe penal system has played a central role in the North Korean government’s response to the country’s profound economic and social changes. Two refugee surveys—one conducted in China, one in South Korea—document its changing role. The regime disproportionately targets politically suspect individuals, particularly those involved in market-oriented economic activities. Levels of violence and deprivation do not appear to differ substantially between the infamous political prison camps, penitentiaries for felons, and labor camps used to incarcerate individuals for misdemeanors, including economic crimes. Substantial numbers of those incarcerated report experiencing deprivation with respect to food as well as public executions and other forms of violence. This repression appears to work; despite substantial cynicism about the North Korean system, refugees do not report signs of collective action aimed at confronting the regime. Such a system may also reflect ulterior motives. High levels of discretion with respect to arrest and sentencing and very high costs of detention, arrest and incarceration encourage bribery; the more arbitrary and painful the experience with the penal system, the easier it is for officials to extort money for avoiding it. These characteristics not only promote regime maintenance through intimidation, but may facilitate predatory corruption as well.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 17705.
Date of creation: Oct 2009
Date of revision:
North Korea; corruption; prison camps; refugees;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
- P37 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Legal
- P3 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2009-10-17 (All new papers)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Yoonok Chang & Stephan Haggard & Marcus Noland, 2008.
"Exit Polls: Refugee Assessments of North Korea's Transition,"
Working Paper Series
WP08-1, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
- Chang, Yoonok & Haggard, Stephan & Noland, Marcus, 2009. "Exit polls: Refugee assessments of North Korea's transition," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 144-150, March.
- Haggard, Stephan & Noland, Marcus, 2010.
"Reform from below: Behavioral and institutional change in North Korea,"
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 133-152, February.
- Stephan Haggard & Marcus Noland, 2009. "Reform from Below: Behavioral and Institutional Change in North Korea," Working Paper Series WP09-8, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
- Haggard, Stephan & Noland, Marcus, 2009.
"Famine in North Korea Redux?,"
Journal of Asian Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 384-395, September.
- Marcus Noland, 2000. "Avoiding the Apocalypse: The Future of the Two Koreas," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 94.
- Noland, Marcus & Haggard, Stephan, 2010. "Political attitudes under repression: evidence from North Korean refugees," MPRA Paper 21713, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Stephan Haggard & Marcus Noland, 2010. "The Winter of Their Discontent: Pyongyang Attacks the Market," Policy Briefs PB10-1, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Ekkehart Schlicht).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.