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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Dec
24

Holiday Gifts Are Extremely Inefficient, So Why Do We Bother?

Today and tomorrow over a third of the world’s population (around 2 billion people) will be celebrating Christmas1. Traditionally, the holiday season will inevitably feature an exchange of gifts. The sums spent on Christmas gift-giving are huge! For example, in 2018 the expected spending on Christmas gifts in the United States is around 885 USD per person2 - this is about 2.8% of what someone in the middle of income distribution earns per year. If we work backwards from these figures and assume that a similar share of an average family’s income is devote...
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Dec
14

Are Giorgi and Mariam More Employable than Arthur and Zeynab?

  It all started with a simple exercise for my Master’s project in which I tried to understand the underlying causes of the observed wage gap between ethnic Georgians and ethnic minorities in the country. After more than a decade, a reputable international journal has published a paper reporting on the experimental evidence my colleagues and I collected and analyzed on labor market outcomes for ethnic minority and female citizens of Georgia. Back in 2008, using the Integrated Household Survey collected by the statistics office of Georgia for 2007 an...
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Dec
03

Pursuing Real Growth: The Importance of This Year’s Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for the Planet and for Us

This year has plagued a number of countries with tremendous natural disasters and extreme weather events. Greece was challenged with extensive fires and South Africa with a shortage of water. As late as November this year, the US was still struggling to tame forest fires. Something is certainly happening with the climate. These problems arise from society only been concerned with growth. The issue is that for far too long we have been assuming that economic growth has no impact on the climate and, more generally, on nature. It is especially concerning th...
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Nov
30

Increasing Electricity Imports and Jumping Import Electricity Prices: a Worrisome Development or Data Glitch?

  After the generation deficit of September, the decreasing trend in generation continues, while the gap between consumption and generation keeps widening. Chiefly, compared to September, total electricity generation has decreased by 8% in October 2018, while in contrast with the previous October, 2017, electricity generation has decreased by 5%. This reduction in generation on a yearly basis is specifically due to the decrease in hydropower (-1%) and thermal power generation (-17%), which more than offsets the increase in WPP generation (+4%). Wher...
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Nov
27

Georgia’s 2018 Presidential Election by Numbers

On 28 November, the Georgian Central Election Commission (CEC) will hold the second round of the very last direct presidential election in Georgia before the constitutional pivot to indirect elections. This is the last stage of a political reform aiming at replacing the presidential political arrangement with the parliamentary system. The president’s powers in the new system will be extremely limited and largely symbolic.1 Nevertheless, political parties are considering the presidential elections of 2018 to be a rehearsal for the more influential parliam...
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Nov
26

What Does Not Kill you… or the Story of Hazelnuts

On November 15, 2018, the Agricultural Policy Research Center (APRC) presented the results of its “Study on Private Service Providers in the Organic Hazelnut Value Chain in Georgia” to stakeholders. The event was organized by HEKS-EPER South Caucasus, the ISET Policy Institute (ISET-PI), and PAKKA AG, a Swiss holding. BACKGROUND Hazelnuts have historically been one of the main crops in terms of economic value for Georgia as the country is located in the Black Sea coastal area, which has suitable soil and climate conditions for the growth of hazelnuts. In...
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