Columbia International Affairs Online: Policy Briefs

CIAO DATE: 03/2012

Engaging North Korea: The Role of Economic Statecraft

Stephan Haggard, Marcus Noland

January 2011

East-West Center


This monograph reviews the efficacy of economic statecraft vis-à-vis North Korea, with a particular focus on the use of sanctions and inducements on the part of the United States in seeking to achieve nonproliferation and wider foreign policy objectives. Two structural constraints operate: North Korea's particularly repressive state, with a narrowing governing coalition; and the country's changing economic relations. As an empirical matter, there is little evidence that sanctions had effect, or did so only in conjunction with inducements. However, inducements did not yield significant results either, in part because of severe credibility and sequencing problems in the negotiations.