The simulation of deterministic pushdown automata defined over a one letter alphabet by finite state automata is investigated from a descriptional complexity point of view. We show that each unary deterministic pushdown automaton of size
can be simulated by a deterministic finite automaton with a number of states which is exponential in
. We prove that this simulation is tight. Furthermore, its cost cannot be reduced even if it is performed by a two-way nondeterministic automaton. We also prove that there are unary languages for which deterministic pushdown automata cannot be exponentially more succinct than finite automata. In order to state this result, we investigate the conversion of deterministic pushdown automata into context-free grammars. We prove that in the unary case the number of variables in the resulting grammar is strictly lower than the number of variables needed in the case of nonunary alphabets.