IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Costs and Benefits of Korean Unification


  • Marcus Noland

    () (Peterson Institute for International Economics)

  • Sherman Robinson

    (Peterson Institute for International Economics)

  • Li-Gang Liu

    (Peterson Institute for International Economics)


Existing estimates of the costs of unification are inadequate for a number of reasons. In this paper we use a dynamic computable general equilibrium model to calculate South Korean and total peninsular income streams under a variety of unification (and non-unification) scenarios. We find that there is a scenario in which the present discounted value of South Korean income is higher with unification than without it. Although lower income groups in South Korea experience reduced incomes under this scenario, with redistribution of the gains, everyone can be made better off. Indeed, this scenario, which involves relatively low levels of South Korean private investment in the North together with relatively high levels of North-South migration, is also the one which generates the highest level of total peninsular income as well. The latter point is critical in that it suggests that there is no necessary conflict between the economic interests of North and South Koreans after unification.

Suggested Citation

  • Marcus Noland & Sherman Robinson & Li-Gang Liu, 1998. "The Costs and Benefits of Korean Unification," Working Paper Series WP98-1, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:iie:wpaper:wp98-1

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hughes Hallett, A. & Ma, Y. & Melitz, J., 1996. "Unification and the policy predicament in Germany," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 519-544, October.
    2. Marcus Noland, 1996. "German Lessons for Korea: The Economics of Unification," Working Paper Series WP96-3, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    3. Marcus Noland & Sherman Robinson & Li-Gang Liu, 1998. "The Costs and Benefits of Korean Unification," Working Paper Series WP98-1, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    4. Hans-Werner Sinn, 1995. "Staggering along: wages policy and investment support in East Germany," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 3(4), pages 403-426, December.
    5. Bernhard Herz & Werner Roger, 1995. "Economic growth and convergence in Germany," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 131(1), pages 132-143, March.
    6. Deaton,Angus & Muellbauer,John, 1980. "Economics and Consumer Behavior," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521296762, March.
    7. Andrea Boltho & Wendy Carlin & Pasquale Scaramozzino, 1999. "Will East Germany become a new Mezzogiorno?," Chapters,in: Economic Growth and Change, chapter 13 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    8. Golan, Amos & Judge, George & Robinson, Sherman, 1994. "Recovering Information from Incomplete or Partial Multisectoral Economic Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(3), pages 541-549, August.
    9. Stone, Richard, 1986. "Nobel Memorial Lecture 1984: The Accounts of Society," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 1(1), pages 5-28, January.
    10. Christian Thimann & Michael Breitner, 1995. "Eastern Germany and the conflict between wage adjustment, investment, and employment: A numerical analysis," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 131(3), pages 446-469, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Funke, Michael & Strulik, Holger, 2005. "Growth and convergence in a two-region model: The hypothetical case of Korean unification," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 255-279, April.
    2. Noland, Marcus & Robinson, Sherman & Wang, Tao, 2000. "Modeling Korean Unification," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 400-421, June.
    3. Sung Min Mun & Byoung Hark Yoo, 2012. "The Effects of Inter-Korean Integration Type on Economic Performance: The Role of Wage Policy," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(3), pages 447-470, September.
    4. Marcus Noland & Sherman Robinson & Ligang Liu, 1999. "The economics of korean unification," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(3), pages 255-299.

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    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:iie:wpaper:wp98-1. 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: (Peterson Institute webmaster). 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.