Economics at your fingertips  

International isolation and regional inequality: Evidence from sanctions on North Korea

Yong Suk Lee

Journal of Urban Economics, 2018, vol. 103, issue C, 34-51

Abstract: This paper examines how the spatial distribution of economic activity evolved within North Korea during a period of economic sanctions. Countries have used economic sanctions to isolate North Korea from the benefits of international trade and finance. China, however, has not imposed the sanctions, and consequentially has offset the trade restrictions imposed by other countries. I hypothesize three channels by which North Korea could have responded in this context: regional favoritism by the ruling elites, reallocation of commerce that reflects the trade diversion to China, and import substitution. Using nighttime lights from North Korea, I find that the capital city, trade hubs near China, and manufacturing cities become relatively brighter when sanctions increase. However, production shifts away from capital-intensive goods, potentially deterring industrial development. The results imply that despite the intention to target the ruling elites, sanctions may increase regional inequality at a cost to the already marginalized hinterlands.

Keywords: Regional inequality; Economic sanctions; Elite capture; Economic geography; Import substitution; North Korea (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: R11 O18 F51 P20 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Access Statistics for this article

Journal of Urban Economics is currently edited by S.S. Rosenthal and W.C. Strange

More articles in Journal of Urban Economics from Elsevier
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Dana Niculescu ().

Page updated 2018-06-15
Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:103:y:2018:i:c:p:34-51