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Political attitudes under repression: evidence from North Korean refugees

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  • Noland, Marcus
  • Haggard, Stephan

Abstract

What do citizens of highly repressive regimes think about their governments? How do they respond to high levels of repression? This paper addresses these questions by examining the political attitudes of North Korean refugees. Unsurprisingly the evaluations of regime performance are negative, and there is some evidence that they are becoming more so, even among the core political class and government or party workers. While the sample marginally overrepresents groups with the most negative evaluation of the regime, multivariate analysis is used to generate projections of the views of the wider population; this exercise indicates that that the null hypothesis that the refugees accurately represent the views of the resident population cannot be rejected at the 95 percent level. However the survey also shows that the barriers to effective communication and collective action remain high; repression works to deter political activity. Partly due to economic exigency, partly due to repression, private defiance of the government takes the form of “everyday forms of resistance,” such as listening to foreign media and engaging in market activities. Although not overtly political, these actions have long-term political consequences.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 21713.

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Date of creation: Mar 2010
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:21713

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Related research

Keywords: information cascades; preference falsification; North Korea; refugees; political repression; unification;

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  1. Stephan Haggard & Marcus Noland, 2010. "The Winter of Their Discontent: Pyongyang Attacks the Market," Policy Briefs PB10-1, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  2. Stephan Haggard & Marcus Noland, 2008. "Famine in North Korea Redux?," Economics Study Area Working Papers 97, East-West Center, Economics Study Area.
  3. 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.
  4. Noland, Marcus & Haggard, Stephan, 2009. "Repression and punishment in North Korea: survey evidence of prison camp experiences," MPRA Paper 17705, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Marcus Noland, 2004. "Korea after Kim Jong-il," Peterson Institute Press: Policy Analyses in International Economics, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number pa71, November.
  6. Marcus Noland, 2000. "Avoiding the Apocalypse: The Future of the Two Koreas," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 94.
  7. 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.
  8. Timur Kuran, 1989. "Sparks and prairie fires: A theory of unanticipated political revolution," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 61(1), pages 41-74, April.
  9. Yoonok Chang & Stephan Haggard & Marcus Noland, 2008. "Migration Experiences of North Korean Refugees: Survey Evidence from China," Working Paper Series WP08-4, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  10. Sushil Bikhchandani & David Hirshleifer & Ivo Welch, 1998. "Learning from the Behavior of Others: Conformity, Fads, and Informational Cascades," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 151-170, Summer.
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