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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Noland, Marcus & Haggard, Stephan, 2010. "Political attitudes under repression: evidence from North Korean refugees," MPRA Paper 21713, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:21713
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/21713/1/MPRA_paper_21713.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Haggard, Stephan & Noland, Marcus, 2010. "Reform from below: Behavioral and institutional change in North Korea," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 133-152, February.
    3. Haggard, Stephan & Noland, Marcus, 2009. "Famine in North Korea Redux?," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 384-395, September.
    4. Marcus Noland, 2000. "Avoiding the Apocalypse: The Future of the Two Koreas," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 94.
    5. 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.
    6. Timur Kuran, 1989. "Sparks and prairie fires: A theory of unanticipated political revolution," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 61(1), pages 41-74, April.
    7. 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.
    8. Marcus Noland, 2004. "Korea after Kim Jong-il," Peterson Institute Press: Policy Analyses in International Economics, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number pa71, October.
    9. 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.
    10. Stephan Haggard & Marcus Noland, 2010. "The Winter of Their Discontent: Pyongyang Attacks the Market," Policy Briefs PB10-1, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Haggard, Stephan & Noland, Marcus, 2013. "Gender in Transition: The Case of North Korea," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 51-66.

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • P2 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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