Satellite Data, Women Defectors and Black Markets in North Korea

A Quantitative Study of the North Korean Informal Sector Using Night-Time Lights Satellite Imagery



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About the Book

In 2002, North Korea passed market liberalization reforms that allowed market forces to determine food prices. In the years to follow, the number of North Korean defectors arriving in South Korea rose considerably, and the number of female defectors skyrocketed. This paper, which appears in North Korean Review, Vol. 12, No. 2 (Fall 2016), investigates the increase in female defectors from North Korea to South Korea. It uses satellite imagery to measure activity in North Korean markets, and demonstrates a correlation between night-time lights emitted by a black market in Sinuiju and female defection to South Korea through China. It concludes that the increase in North Korean female defectors is related to women’s higher mobility, which is a benefit of their leading role in North Korean markets.

About the Author(s)

Yongho Kim is the director of the Yonsei Institute for North Korean Studies and a professor in the Political Science and International Studies Department at Yonsei University.

Bibliographic Details

Maximilian Ernst and Roman Jurowetzki
Format: E-Single
Bibliographic Info:
Copyright Date: 2016
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2809-7