ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Dec
23

Who Gets to Eat from the Growing Pie?

  2017 is shaping up as one of the best years in Georgia’s post-2008 crisis history. The economy is expected to expand by about 5%, beating early expectations and official forecasts by the likes of the IMF and the World Bank. Based on updated GeoStat figures for Q1 and Q2, ISET-PI’s annual growth forecast currently stands at 4.9%. Even that figure is likely to be revised upwards if Q3 growth turns out to be higher than suggested by GeoStat’s preliminary estimate of 4.4%. Georgia is not alone in experiencing a boom. In fact, it is rising with a tide ...
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Jan
14

How Can We Revitalize the Struggling Georgian Agricultural Sector?

LEFT BEHIND Between 1990 and 1994, the Georgian economy experienced one of the sharpest declines in economic activity in recent history, with GDP per capita falling by more than 70 percent. Since then, however, especially after 2003, it has been growing quite fast, with the Georgian GDP per capita overtaking the 1990 level in 2013. However, the Georgian agricultural sector, in the same period, has been characterized by a quite different trend, as shown in Figure 1. Figure 1. GDP Per Capita and Agriculture Value Added as a Share of GDP During the crisis ...
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Dec
19

What Chile teaches Georgia

In 1991, the former finance minister of Chile, Alejandro Foxley, said in an interview: “We may not like the government that came before us. But they did many things right. We have inherited an economy that is an asset.” About twenty years before, General Augusto Pinochet had toppled the democratically elected President of Chile, Salvador Allende. Pinochet’s rule from 1973 to 1990 was characterized by severe violations of human rights, yet finally he agreed to hold a referendum on his political future, and when the Chilean people voted against him, he ste...
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Mar
26

Political Blame Games: How to Escape the Mankind’s Favorite Game of Destruction?

Imagine the following public exchange between two guys - Serge, the president, and Larry, the CEO of a company by the name Oogle: Serge (Oogle president): You know Larry, our stock market numbers look pretty good today. The Wall Street Journal said it must be because the president is taking the company in the right direction! Larry (Oogle CEO): Come on, Serge, we all know that the president is not calling all the shots around here. And by the way, the numbers would have been much better, if your design team hadn’t made those …. pink-tinted glasses. Serge...
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May
08

What Kind of "State" Does a Country Need?

When Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko visited Georgia in late April 2015, we were once again reminded that history is not over yet, certainly not in the sense pronounced by Francis Fukuyama in his 1992 book End of History and the Last Man: "What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human go...
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Apr
17

Lessons Learned From a Decade of Georgian Reforms. View From The Sky

Georgian reforms have become an internationally traded commodity. Underappreciated and no longer wanted at home, some of Georgia’s former reformers are doing well-paid consulting gigs in Mongolia, Central Asia, Ukraine, Moldova and further away emerging markets. Sensing a business opportunity, a group of former government officials groomed by Kakha Bendukidze, the mastermind of Georgian reforms, has recently established a consulting agency, “Reformatics”. “The chosen”, such as Georgia’s former Minister of Health Sandro Kvitashvili and former Deputy Minis...
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