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Evaluating the Second Half of the Kim Jong-Un Era: Evidence from Nighttime Light

  • Author Dawool Kim
  • Series228
  • Date2022-01-04
The North Korean economy in Kim Jong-Un’s era can be categorized into two stages. The first half includes 2012-2016, when together with the conducive external environment and the new leader’s ambitious aim for economic development, positive growth was achieved in several areas. The second half includes 2017-2021, when adverse external shocks – the UN sanctions and the COVID-19 – struck the North Korean economy hard.
Reginal disparity in the nighttime luminosity reveals that the current environment has slowed down the growth engine of North Korea in the first half of the Kim Jong-Un era: the market and trade. North Korea's strategy to tackle the situation appears to be futile. If North Korea adheres to the present strategy and refuses to open its borders, the outcome of the 'Five-Year Plan for National Economic Development (2021-25)' may be self-evident.
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