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Famine and Reform in North Korea


  • Marcus Noland

    (Institute for International Economics 1750 Massachusetts Avenue N.W. Washington, DC 20036 USA,)


North Korea has been in a food emergency for more than a decade and in the 1990s experienced a famine that may have claimed one million lives. The crisis is distinguished by its protracted nature, and although conditions have eased somewhat in recent years, the situation remains precarious, and the country could lapse back into famine. This paper reviews the origins of the North Korean food crisis, the impact of the 1990s famine, and the prospects for resolution of the emergency in light of economic reforms initiated in 2002 and the subsequent diplomatic confrontation over the country's nuclear weapons program. Copyright (c) 2005 The Earth Institute at Columbia University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Marcus Noland, 2004. "Famine and Reform in North Korea," Asian Economic Papers, MIT Press, vol. 3(2), pages 1-40.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:asiaec:v:3:y:2004:i:2:p:1-40

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Noland, Marcus & Robinson, Sherman & Wang, Tao, 2001. "Famine in North Korea: Causes and Cures," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(4), pages 741-767, July.
    2. Marcus Noland, 2000. "Avoiding the Apocalypse: The Future of the Two Koreas," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 94.
    3. Noland, Marcus & Robinson, Sherman & Wang, Tao, 2000. "Rigorous Speculation: The Collapse and Revival of the North Korean Economy," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(10), pages 1767-1787, October.
    4. Daniel Goodkind & Loraine West, 2001. "The North Korean Famine and Its Demographic Impact," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 27(2), pages 219-238.
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    Cited by:

    1. Schwekendiek, Daniel, 2008. "The North Korean standard of living during the famine," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(3), pages 596-608, February.
    2. Michele De Benedictis, 2008. "Peasant Economy: Yesterday and Today," QA - Rivista dell'Associazione Rossi-Doria, Associazione Rossi Doria, issue 3, July.
    3. Haggard, Stephan & Noland, Marcus, 2009. "Famine in North Korea Redux?," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 384-395, September.
    4. Soo-Bin Park, 2004. "The North Korean Economy: Current Issues and Prospects," Carleton Economic Papers 04-05, Carleton University, Department of Economics.
    5. 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.
    6. Schwekendiek, Daniel, 2008. "Determinants of well-being in North Korea: Evidence from the post-famine period," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 446-454, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • P20 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - General
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East
    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets


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