Economic Comparison of North and South Korea

  • Gerhard Breidenstein (Author)

Identifiers (Article)


This study limits itself to the comparison of some economic statistics of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Republic of Korea (ROK). In a first section it discusses the reliability of the available data and considers various factors concerning the comparability of today’s economic achievements in North and South Korea. In the second part overall economic indicators (GNP/NI per capita, growth rates, industrial structure of GNP) and output data are analyzed. After adjustments for certain exchange rates and the socialist definition of Nl an estimated DPRK per capita N1 of 375 US dollars for 1970 corresponds to a ROK per capita Nl of 110 US dollars for the same year. This very rough indication of the North’s economic superiority over the South is confirmed by the more relevant comparison of per capita output data for electricity, coal, oil (combined to a total of energy production), steel, iron, cement, chemical fertilizer, rice, meat, and textile fabrics. In 1970 the DPRK had reached a clearly and sometimes several times higher level than the ROK in all of these data of production per person.