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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Jul
09

Great Expectations: Does the DCFTA Really Boost Georgia’s Economic and Export Potential?

On June 27, 2014, Georgia and the EU signed an Association Agreement (AA) and its integral part – the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA). On July 1st, 2016, DCFTA fully entered into force. Until then, trade between Georgia and the EU was regulated by the Special Incentive Arrangement for Sustainable Development and Good Governance that contained a Generalized System of Preferences+ (GSP+) agreed to in 2005.  GSP+ covered 7,200 products for which the customs duty was reduced or eliminated when exporting to the EU market. It is w...
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Jul
02

Will Georgia Ever Get to the World Cup?

“…….. Georgia clearly has potential. The country is small (5 million people), and horribly poor (even today, average income is below $4,000 per year). If Georgians could just become as rich as Croatia, they too could start beating England at Wembley.” – Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski, Soccernomics, (2006, p.287) “Football was born in England, grew to Brazil and died in Georgia” – a well-known joke about Georgian football. This summer, Russia is again at the epicenter of the world, but this time for hosting the 21st FIFA World Cup football tourna...
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Jun
30

Real Estate = Real Investment

Summer is a good time for traveling to the sea, but now I want you to join me in the journey in time. A memory from my childhood in the early 2000s was the discussion among people about the choice between “Khrushovka” and “Chekhuri.” Households were buying flats and making investments in real estate. It is difficult to explore the real reasons why people prefer real estate over other types of investments, but the some of the standard arguments which I was hearing were the following: “if something happens it is still a real estate,” “at least I will have ...
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Jun
18

Georgian and Armenian “Deplorables” and "Desperados" Taking It to the Streets

Georgian and Armenian ruling parties have been until recently basking in the glory of high GDP growth rates. Armenia’s stellar growth performance of 7.5% in 2017 and Georgia’s respectable 5% are, indeed, worthy of praise. However, do these figures really matter for the objective well-being of the majority of Georgians and Armenians? Second, how does economic growth, as measured by GDP, affect people’s subjective perception of happiness? Third, what does it do to crime rates and people’s appetite for political representation, social justice and fairness? ...
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Jun
18

The Quest of Finding Blue Money

Do you happen to have some 1.7 trillion USD to spare? Somewhere between 2 and 10% of the Georgian population suffers from lack of basic access to drinking water (Global High-level Panel on Water and Peace, 2017; The Global Water Partnership and OECD, 2015). Globally, 1 in 4 people will be affected by shortages of fresh water by the year 2050 (United Nations, 2018). It is therefore necessary to look at financial instruments that could help safeguard the supply of fresh water. Here, we will look at examples of such financial instruments, which have, for in...
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Jun
11

Sweet Little Lies – Things That Make Us “Happy”

  On May 17, 2017, the Georgian government adopted amendments to the Tobacco Control Law with 85 votes in favor, and only one against. This highly debated new regulation, which bans smoking in public places, was initiated by Parliament member Ms. Guguli Maghradze who just recently discussed the obesity problem in Georgia, which is caused partly by excess sugar consumption. Georgian public which is familiar with statements turning into law considered Ms. Maghradze’s statement as a prelude to enacting a sugar tax in Georgia. During the informal interv...
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