North Korea: Building the Institutions to Raise Living Standards
This paper examines the nature of the economic failure that has brought North Korea such low living standards, and considers how the economic system might be reformed to facilitate a return to overall growth in both aggregate income (GDP) and general living standards. The focus is on institutional aspects of the needed reforms, emphasising the importance of building on existing institutions and practices wherever possible, rather than starting from scratch from a tabula rasa . Food supplies, the large military establishment, and the astonishing failure to adapt to the trade shock resulting from the collapse of the USSR are reviewed in detail, and potential lessons are explored from EU enlargement, German reunification and the very messy Russian transition. In proposing reforms, the paper is pragmatic and flexible, prioritising measures to improve food supplies while also emphasising a wide range of local, experimental and decentralised reforms that surely have greater chance of success than a top-down approach.
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Volume (Year): 26 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
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