Policy and Economic Performance in Divided Korea during the Cold War Era: 1945-91

  • Title:

    Policy and Economic Performance in Divided Korea during the Cold War Era: 1945-91
  • Format:

    Paperback
  • Paperback Price:

    25.00
  • Paperback ISBN:

    978-0-8447-4274-8
  • Paperback Dimensions:

    6" x 9"
  • 340 Paperback pages
  • Buy the Book

The Korean peninsula during the Cold War provided a cruel but historically unparalleled real-world “experiment” in the relationship between polity and material advance: an ethnically and culturally homogenous nation was, in 1945, suddenly divided by an arbitrary boundary line and then subjected to two radically different and adversarial political economies for successive decades on end. Assessing the competition between the North and South Korean economies from partition to the end of the Soviet era, Nicholas Eberstadt argues that the storyline is not quite as simple as the now-prevailing narrative suggests (that centrally-planned economies are doomed to fail against market-oriented alternatives). Rather, he suggests, the race for material progress was just that: a race, the results of which were far from preordained at the outset.

In Policy and Economic Performance in Divided Korea during the Cold War Era: 1945–91, Eberstadt presents an impressive compilation of hard-to-find comparative data on economic performance for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, or North Korea) and the Republic of Korea (ROK, or South Korea) over two critical generations. By a number of indicators, Eberstadt argues, Kim Il Sung’s North Korea actually outperformed South Korea for much of this period--not only in the years immediately following partition, but perhaps also into the 1970s.

To explain these surprising results, Eberstadt details the impact of government policies on the course of growth of both economies and offers some unorthodox observations about material performance under these two contending polities. He finds that prevailing economic development theory on such issues as planned-versus- market economies, military burden, and the relationship between material advance and poverty, may require reexamination in light of the experience of the two Koreas between partition and the end of the Cold War.

Nicholas Eberstadt is the Henry Wendt Scholar in Political Economy at the American Enterprise Institute.

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About the Author

 

Nicholas
Eberstadt
  • Nicholas Eberstadt, a political economist and a demographer by training, is also a senior adviser to the National Bureau of Asian Research, a member of the visiting committee at the Harvard School of Public Health, and a member of the Global Leadership Council at the World Economic Forum. He researches and writes extensively on economic development, foreign aid, global health, demographics, and poverty. He is the author of numerous monographs and articles on North and South Korea, East Asia, and countries of the former Soviet Union. His books range from The End of North Korea (AEI Press, 1999) to The Poverty of the Poverty Rate (AEI Press, 2008).

     

  • Phone: 202.862.5825
    Email: eberstadt@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Alex Coblin
    Phone: 202.419.5215
    Email: alex.coblin@aei.org

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