The Elderly in South Korea and North Korea During War and Peace, and Challenges Posed by Unification

This joint seminar presentation will make use of concepts related to the study of ageing (life experiences of birth cohorts turning 60, human capabilities) and data related to the Koreas to assess contemporaneous and lagged influences of war, revolution and transition on the elderly in the two countries. The time periods considered will be: unified Korea during 1910-1945 (birth cohorts of 1930, 1935 and 1940); revolutionary establishment of the socialist regime in North Korea; the Korean war during 1950-53 (birth cohort of 1950); and peaceful developments in South Korea and North Korea (1953-2017) in different political, social and economic systems (birth cohort of 1960). The final section of the talk will evaluate the implications for the elderly of possible economic transition in North Korea and the unification of the Koreas. Christopher Davis is a specialist on command and transition economies, as well as on the elderly, and has made five recent research visits to South Korea. Jay Lewis is an academic expert on Korean history.