Fulbright Forum – February 24, 2012

Jacob Reidhead

This presentation marks the completion of Jacob Reidhead’s MA thesis at the University of Washington wherein he compares the origins of economic reform in Asia’s socialist economies: China, Vietnam, and North Korea.

In particular, he will present a comparative framework for reform derived from the historical experience of these three economies and then leverage this framework in order to answer the question of why China and Vietnam have successfully been able to reform but North Korea has not. Implications of these findings for the prospect of reforms in Kim Jong-un’s North Korea will also be discussed. His hope is that those in attendance will actively participate and leave with a more sophisticated and analytically sound understanding of the challenges to economic reform in North Korea.

Jacob Reidhead first traveled to Korea as a Christian missionary in 1998, in the aftermath of the IMF-Asian Financial Crisis. Following two years of missionary service, he returned again in 2004-2006 as a Korean Flagship Language Initiative fellow and graduate student at Korea University. He has since traveled to North Korea twice, for two weeks as a member of a Eugene Bell delegation in 2006 and for five months as a USNGO food monitor during the 2008-2009 USAID food program. Jacob subsequently entered a Ph.D. program in Sociology at the University of Washington where he is pursuing research on the origins and effects of the post-Cold War transitions of Asia’s socialist economies.