PIIE Blog | North Korea: Witness to Transformation
The Peterson Institute for International Economics is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan
research institution devoted to the study of international economic policy. More › ›
Subscribe to North Korea: Witness to Transformation Search
North Korea: Witness to Transformation

In this blog, we report on developments in and around North Korea, including the broader security setting and political, economic, and social change in the country.

Recent Posts

James Reilly on China-DPRK Relations I

by | February 26th, 2015 | 07:00 am

James Reilly (University of Sydney) has written two pieces that appeared last year in Asian Survey and The China Quarterly that deserve a close read by those interested in the Sino-DPRK relationship; we take up each in turn. The Asian Survey piece looks at an issue near-and-dear to our hearts: the question of whether interaction […]

Read full post

Academic Sources: Hendrix and Haggard on Food Prices and Protest

by | February 25th, 2015 | 07:00 am

Between 2000 and 2011, prices for most globally traded commodities more than doubled. Since cresting in early 2011, oil and industrial metals prices then halved, raising question about whether North Korea’s trade boom—led by raw material exports–was fragile. Unlike other commodities, however, global food prices have followed a different trajectory. While down from near historic […]

Read full post

Triangulating Food. Again.

by | February 24th, 2015 | 06:32 am

Earlier this month the Food and Agriculture Organization released a report on the 2014/15 outlook for North Korean food supply and demand. The report is essentially an update relying on North Korean government statistics, not a full assessment, insofar as FAO teams were not permitted in-country as they had been in the recent past. Given […]

Read full post

Slave to the Blog: Implementing the Commission of Inquiry Edition

by | February 23rd, 2015 | 07:00 am

The international human rights community rightly claimed an important victory in the formation and operation of the UN Commission of Inquiry. A year after the report was issued, questions remain about how to move forward. Here we spotlight a few recent stories of interest. All show one common thread: that Pyongyang is clearly concerned that […]

Read full post

Action Items from the North Korea Freedom Coalition

by | February 22nd, 2015 | 07:00 am

From the North Korea Freedom Coalition (NKFC): February 16, 2015 Dear Friends: A friendly reminder of events coming up and two critical action items needing YOUR help…. Conference Commemorating One Year Anniversary of COI: Tomorrow (Tuesday, February 17), the Center for Strategic and International Studies (Washington, D.C.) is hosting an event to commemorate the one […]

Read full post

The Evolution– and Logical Conclusion– of KJU’s New ‘Do

by | February 21st, 2015 | 07:10 am

We couldn’t help it. With the recent unveiling of Kim Jong Un’s new hairstyle and eyebrow pluck, we present you with the steady deterioration – and logical conclusion – of the Kim clan’s coif. See Kotaku for an alternate take. Special thanks to hairstyle name contributors at the Peterson Institute (we also do economics research). […]

Read full post

Slave to the Blog: The Travel Edition

by | February 20th, 2015 | 06:42 am

Steph Haggard passed along an ad from Koryo Tours indicating that the deadline on their Pyongyang Marathon package had been extended by a week. Admittedly, the promotional video is sort of Leni Riefenstahl meets kitsch, but hey, this is the Pyongyang Marathon, after all. But, wait, aren’t the North Koreans still banning tourists and quarantining […]

Read full post

Three Views (and Methodologies) on Global Innovation

by and Jan Zilinsky | February 19th, 2015 | 07:00 am

According to the 2015 edition of Bloomberg’s “Global Innovation Index” released this month, South Korea took the title as most innovative country in the world out of over 200 nations evaluated (no indication whether the authors even tried to evaluate North Korea, but we doubt it!). This recognition is not new: South Korea has held […]

Read full post

Slave to the Blog: Border Control Edition

by | February 18th, 2015 | 07:00 am

We recently covered the Chinese detention of Peter Hahn and Kevin and Julia Garratt (see early coverage on the Hahn case from August Reuters) and argued that these moves were symptomatic of a broader crackdown on both sides of the border. But of course such claims are always difficult to verify given the paucity of […]

Read full post

Tatia Dolidze on EU Sanctions Against Russia

by | February 17th, 2015 | 07:00 am

This blog has an enduring interest in the technology of sanctions: how and when they “work”—and if they do at all (our posts on sanctions can be found here). The Peterson Institute has also done extensive work on the issue. Recently, we were alerted to a useful summary of EU sanctions policy toward Russia done […]

Read full post