ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Feb
08

To Prevent, to Repair, or to Start Over: Should Georgia Put ‘Maintenance’ Ahead of ‘Investment’ in Its Development Dictionary?

In a recent blog post, Y. Babych and L. Leruth raised several issues related to public infrastructure management in the city of Tbilisi. They observed that the consequences of poor past management practices were highly visible. But some of these consequences are also less visible or less immediate. Take schooling, for example. If the authorities fail to plan for the expected increase in the city’s population over the next few years and neglect to build an adequate number of kindergartens/pre-schools, the results will be overcrowded, fast decaying pre-sch...
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Oct
19

Sorry, You're Fired Due to COVID! Has COVID-19 Widened Gender Gap?

When the Georgian unemployment statistics for Quarter 2 (April, May, June) of 2020 came out, no one was surprised to see that the national unemployment rate, which had been falling steadily over the previous quarters, and even years, suddenly increased by 0.9 percentage points relative to the same quarter of 2019 (more precisely from 11.4% in Q2 2019 to 12.3% in Q2 2020). Perhaps we were more surprised by the fact that the unemployment rate did not go up more drastically in the midst of a strict lockdown, various travel restrictions, and quarantine measu...
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Sep
21

The Post-COVID Foreign Direct Investment in Georgia: go clean, or don’t go!

Governments around the world are racing against the clock to help communities damaged by the economic fallout of COVID-19. Eager to bring good news to their constituents, they are brokering deals likely to bring employment and much needed international investments. Georgia, of course, is no exception. Recent FDI projects include a plastics processing plant with a stated capacity to employ 400 local workers in plastic waste recycling jobs and the associated sections of the supply chain. In crises years, creation of jobs via FDI sounds absolutely great. Bu...
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Sep
07

New Old Chavchavadze Avenue – Putting the Horse Ahead of the Cart?

Preface: Imagine a Tbilisi where the Mayor rides a municipal bus, a football star passes you on a scooter, and your favorite guitar player locks up his bike at the entrance to a restaurant; not because they don’t have fancy cars (they do!), but because they believe these alternatives are healthier, more environmentally friendly, greener, and more convenient.  This really sounds like a European city! One issue on the tip of everyone’s tongue these days in Tbilisi—along with August holidays and the risks of COVID-19—is the newly-rehabilitated Chavchav...
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Jun
12

Playing Against the Odds: What’s at Stake for Georgia as It Bets on the Tourism Revival Strategy?

Georgia reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic by immediately introducing aggressive measures. Closing international borders, declaring a state of emergency, shutting down public transportation, banning local travel and public gatherings, closing restaurants and shopping malls, and introducing a nighttime curfew—these are all instruments that were used by the country’s government and health authorities to stop the spread of the virus. As a result, the health system was not overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. As of June 12th Georgia has had 837 confirmed corona...
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