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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Jun
11

Sweet Little Lies – Things That Make Us “Happy”

  On May 17, 2017, the Georgian government adopted amendments to the Tobacco Control Law with 85 votes in favor, and only one against. This highly debated new regulation, which bans smoking in public places, was initiated by Parliament member Ms. Guguli Maghradze who just recently discussed the obesity problem in Georgia, which is caused partly by excess sugar consumption. Georgian public which is familiar with statements turning into law considered Ms. Maghradze’s statement as a prelude to enacting a sugar tax in Georgia. During the informal interv...
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Jan
23

Mandatory Flour Fortification in Georgia: a Boon or a Burden for the Poor?

We are what we eat – in the near future Georgians are likely to be reminded of this universal truth.   Soon the Georgian Parliament will be discussing a small but important change, which will affect something as significant and vital as bread, along with pasta, khachapuri and anything made with wheat flour. The Georgian legislators will be considering a law, according to which flour fortification will become mandatory in Georgia. Mandatory food fortification is a contentious issue. The proponents of the law argue that this change is a great way to d...
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Jun
19

Decriminalize Marijuana?

  According to a recent study, smoking marijuana for many years leads to a severe loss of intelligence: compared with people who did not consume cannabis, the IQ’s of smokers were lower by 13-38 points (Meier et al.: “Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife”, PNAS 109, 2012). Moreover, after a long time of consumption, cognitive abilities and memory do not recover when smoking marijuana is eventually given up.  Recently, decriminalization of marijuana became a hotly discussed topic in Georgia. The opi...
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Mar
23

Smokers in Post-Soviet Countries: Ill-Informed or Just Irrational?

Tobacco consumption is widely known for its negative effects on health. According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, just in the USA an estimated 443,000 people die per year prematurely due to inhaling cigarette smoke. As there are 46 million smokers in the USA, it means that in any given year, the likelihood to “die prematurely” because of one’s smoking habit is almost 1% (under the admittedly strong assumption that these numbers are constant in the long run). If one smokes for 10 years, the probability that one’s life will be cut shor...
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Sep
09

The New Prescription Rules: Repeating Western Mistakes

So far, many Georgians solved minor health problems in a non-bureaucratic way. Instead of consulting doctors, they asked friends, relatives, and the internet what medicine should be taken as a remedy for a given issue. Once they had received enough information, they went to a pharmacy, and, with some additional advice from the pharmacist, bought the medicine they expected to be helpful. This practice has now come to an end. From September 2014, a large number of pharmaceuticals labeled as “second group medicines”, including painkillers and antibiotics, w...
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