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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Apr
22

An Egg Today? Or a Hen Tomorrow? Credit Regulations in Georgia

“We do not need people who will get credit to buy a refrigerator and TV, and end up in the black list” – Giorgi Kobulia, former Ministrer of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia “Long-term financial stability gains are always worth the short-term costs” – Koba Gvenetadze, Governor of the National Bank of Georgia Around two years ago, ISET-PI published a blog article on the problem of over-indebtedness in Georgia. The article stressed the idea that due to notably increased access to finances, an aggressive marketing campaign provided by financia...
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Feb
25

Water Losses and Operational Efficiency in the Water Sector: Observations and Proposed Policy Interventions

The large and chronic water losses characterizing distribution networks constitute one of the major challenges faced by Georgian water utilities. The water supply generates approximately 700 million cubic meters of non-revenue water (NRW) each year1, considering just the urban centers. High water loss rates create excessive operational costs for the utilities and result in undesirable operational inefficiency in the water supply sector. This creates obstacles — from a financial point of view — to the achievement of full cost recovery and to the appropria...
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Apr
08

Can Quotas Do It?!

Despite substantial improvements in education, professional development and political participation, women remain underrepresented in leadership positions in politics, and Georgia is no exception. In 2017, the country ranked in 94th place (out of 144), according to the Global Gender Gap index (GGI),1 which indicates that Georgia is not performing well in closing the gender gap. The GGI serves as a comprehensive and consistent measure for gender equality, which can track a country’s progress over time. Economic participation and opportunity, educational a...
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Mar
06

Economic Freedom (Act): Do We Need It or Not?

The so-called “Economic Freedom Act” (EFA), which has been a matter of public discussion in recent weeks, refers to two pieces of legislation: (i) a Constitutional amendment from 2010, which requires a referendum for introducing new taxes or increasing the tax rate, and (ii) the Law on Economic Freedom (2011), in force since 2013, setting a number of additional restrictions to government fiscal policy (Table 1). Table 1. Law on Economic Freedom in Short Number of Tax...
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Feb
06

Failure is Always an Option! Or is it?

“The type of failure we’re talking about is like how frogs lay 20,000 eggs so a few wind up as adults sitting on a lily pad sucking down mosquito dinners” is how the author of the recent Newsweek article describes the rate of failure it takes to breed a handful of unicorns-tech startups valued at more than $1 billion. Failure has increasingly become a chapter in success stories; stories which inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs to try, fail, try again, and succeed. Economics, as we have come to know it, is about efficient allocation of resources. R...
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Feb
04

How to De-Dollarize in a Smart Way: Lessons from the Georgian and Foreign Experiences

Unofficial (partial) dollarization describes a situation when a foreign currency is used alongside the domestic currency for transactions purposes and as a store value. High partial dollarization is not good for a country, as it ties the hands of its Central Bank when it wants to use monetary policy. In a highly dollarized economy, national currency depreciation can even lead to financial instability. As a transition economy, Georgia is characterized by high levels of dollarization. Therefore, recent waves of lari depreciation has prompted authorities to...
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