IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Economic System and Financial Literacy: Evidence from North Korean Refugees


  • Minjung Kim
  • Syngjoo Choi
  • Jungmin Lee


We compare the financial literacy of two groups of Koreans living in South Korea, namely, native-born South Koreans and North Korean refugees, who were born and raised in contrasting economic systems. Examining the financial literacy of North Korean refugees and its changes over time after their settlement in a capitalistic society underscores the importance of institutional environments in developing financial literacy. We find that North Korean refugees, with very limited access to financial markets in their home country, are significantly less financially literate than native-born South Koreans. The gap is significant even after controlling for cognitive ability, which is also starkly different between the two groups. The financial literacy of the refugees increases over time during their settlement in South Korea, but the magnitude of such improvement is insubstantial. Our findings suggest that financial literacy is developed at the early life stages and cannot be easily modified at the later stages.

Suggested Citation

  • Minjung Kim & Syngjoo Choi & Jungmin Lee, 2017. "Economic System and Financial Literacy: Evidence from North Korean Refugees," Emerging Markets Finance and Trade, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 53(11), pages 2505-2527, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:mes:emfitr:v:53:y:2017:i:11:p:2505-2527
    DOI: 10.1080/1540496X.2017.1340880

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mes:emfitr:v:53:y:2017:i:11:p:2505-2527. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chris Longhurst). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.