The Logic of the Survival of North Korea

Kentaro Hirose*, Shuhei Kurizaki

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Why has North Korea been able to survive up to now, while other rogue states such as Afghanistan and Iraq have suffered military intervention by the USA? To solve this puzzle, we present a simple two-level game model that takes into account strategic interdependence between intrastate and interstate wars. Using the two-level game framework, we show that the ethnic homogeneity of North Korea helps defend itself from US armed intervention, whereas a rogue state with a relatively heterogeneous society is expected to experience international insecurity by providing the USA with an opportunity to find domestic allies that help it win an interstate war against the rogue state. As a policy implication, we discuss the possibility that the recent development of a market economy in North Korea might destabilize the peace between the USA and North Korea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-304
Number of pages18
JournalAsian Economic Policy Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jul


  • C730
  • F510
  • North Korea
  • ethnicity
  • interstate war
  • intrastate war
  • repeated prisoners’ dilemma
  • rogue state

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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