What are the longer-term consequences of premigratory experiences on the political attitudes of those who migrate out of extremely authoritarian regimes? In this paper, using data from an original survey of North Korean defectors in South Korea conducted in 2022, we examine whether attitudes on executive power, self-sacrifice for the sake of the national community (postmigration), state ownership, and the duty to participate politically, vary among North Korean defectors, and whether those attitudes are based on their individual experiences in North Korea. Although we find little evidence that defectors express a greater willingness to sacrifice for the nation, former members (especially male members) of the Workers’ Party of Korea are significantly more likely than nonparty members to express support for a strong unchecked leader. Some other indicators of elite status (such as higher education and organizational leadership) also suggest that defectors who were elites are more likely than defectors with less elite backgrounds to retain elements of the authoritarian socialization they experienced in North Korea.

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