ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Dec
10

Georgia Needs Compact Government!

In recent years, a tendency on the part of different authorities to consolidate has been noted worldwide. Competition agencies are merging with consumer protection agencies and/or regulators in order to establish more effective and less expensive public systems. Accordingly, since the first roundtable meeting on the optimal design of a competition agency, held in February 2003, OECD has organized two more roundtables concerning changes in institutional design of competition authorities in less than one year – one in December 2014, and one in June 2015. A...
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Apr
13

The Complexities Facing the Competition Authority

Economists disagree whether it was a good decision to reestablish the Georgian competition authority. When some years ago it was removed, the underlying logic was that a non-existing authority cannot be corrupt, and, more importantly, cannot harm the economy through misguided decisions. Assuming that corruption will not be a problem for the competition authority, neither now nor in the future, regulating markets is still a highly delicate issue which yields many possibilities to go wrong. WHAT IS THE RELEVANT MARKET? One of the central issues that have t...
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Sep
23

Georgian Egg Prices: the Roller Coaster Ride Continues

About 9 months ago, we were already discussing the oddities of egg prices in Georgia (“The Georgian Egg of Discord”, by Giorgi Kelbakiani and Eric Livny). At that time, a huge volatility in the egg prices could be explained by interesting political dynamics. Under the UNM government, local producers of eggs were largely protected from external competition through non-tariff import barriers, called by the ministry of agriculture a “complete violation of law and international agreements”. However, through these measures, a relative stability of egg supply ...
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Apr
14

Fine and Punishment

Imagine arriving at a provincial airport in an unnamed Central Asian country. You leave the terminal and go straight to row of waiting taxis. In your Lonely Planet you read that you should pay about $10 for what is a short taxi ride to the city center. You ask the first taxi driver and are quoted a fantasy price of $50. You try to bargain, to no avail. You go to the next taxi, and once again you are quoted $50. You finally go to the third taxi, and lo and behold, it’s the same price, $50. And you don’t even try to bargain anymore… Now, imagine this to pl...
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May
31

A New Competition Law for Georgia: Much Ado About Nothing?

The mountain of promises to modify Georgia’s liberal labor code has recently produced a little mouse in the shape of a statement by Deputy Prime Minister Giorgi Margvelashvili who, according to GeorgiaNews.ge, “branded the new labor code project a “dream of Rosa Luxemburg”. GeorgiaNews.ge also knows to tell that “Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili supported Education Minister Giorgi Margvelashvili’s position on the matter and thought employers should be the side to enjoy the government’s support “at this stage”. The Prime Minister added employees should ...
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Nov
16

A New Competition Policy for Georgia

In recent weeks there has been a lot of talk about alleged monopolies and cartels in Georgia, and Georgia’s future competition policy. With few exceptions this debate has been pathetic. The debate has been dominated by politicians or businesses with a vested interest in the outcome. Even worse the framework of the debate is often provided by self-proclaimed experts with no actual expertise. According to the debate monopolies and cartels are pervasive in Georgia. Seemingly almost every sector of the Georgian economy is not competitive, either because firm...
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