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Statistical Explorations In Terra Incognita: How Reliable Are North Korean Survey Data?

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Chapter Summary

In fall 2008, the UN co-conducted a census in North Korea. Even before its implementation, doubts were being cast on the reliability of the data it would gather. This chapter makes use of a 2002 UN household survey to investigate the extent of manipulation by the government at that time. It checks the quality of North Korean survey data, which might have implications for the interpretation of the quality of the data collected in the 2008 national census as well. This chapter addresses methodological issues, and briefly discusses the 2002 UN-assisted household survey in the context of the 2008 UN - assisted census. The main part of the chapter describes the manipulation hypothesis, where the author differentiates between possible manipulation occurring after, during and before the survey. It also describes the reliability and consistency of North Korean survey data. Finally, the author explains the self-censorship hypothesis.

Keywords: 2002 UN household survey; 2008 UN - assisted census; manipulation hypothesis; North Korean survey data; self-censorship hypothesis



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