Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 12/2014

Countering Sanctions: The Unequal Geographic Impact of Economic Sanctions in North Korea

Yong Suk Lee

September 2014

Asia-Pacific Research Center


This paper examines how an autocratic regime domestically counters the impact of economic sanctions. A stylized model predicts that, as long as non-compliance is not too costly, the autocrat redistributes resources to the more valuable urban area when sanctions increase. Empirically, I examine the case of North Korea. I use the satellite night lights data to create average luminosity for each one minute by one minute cell between 1992 and 2010. I construct a sanctions index that varies based on the international response to North Korea's nuclear pursuit.