ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Apr
01

“Fly To Georgia” Program to Dramatically Improve Air Transportation Options to and from Georgia Starting October 1, 2016

As has been reported earlier, the recent deal struck by Georgian PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili and Wizz Air CEO Owain Jones led to a decision by the company to start – already in September 2016 – base operations in Kutaisi and launch new twice or thrice-weekly service from Kutaisi to Berlin, Munich, Milan, Dortmund, Larnaca, Sofia and Thessaloniki.  To follow up on this breakthrough development, the government has just unveiled plans to further expand the range, and dramatically reduce the cost of, regular direct flights between the TAV-operated Shot...
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Mar
21

BMW: Blocks My Way... Around Tbilisi!

The Quality of Living Survey 2012 of the international consultancy group Mercer ranks 222 cities in the world according to how livable they are. Tbilisi was ranked on Place 213, provoking furious reactions by many Georgians. On the internet, it is easy to find wild slanders against those who created the ranking and even against those who just referred to it, and there was even an online petition initiated against the ranking. Without any question, the survey does not capture crucial factors that impact the quality of life. Tbilisi, unlike Lagos in Nigeri...
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Oct
15

The New Silk Road Chain is Only as Strong as Its Weakest Link

Speaking at the opening of the Tbilisi Silk Road Forum, Georgia’s new Minister of Foreign Affairs Giorgi Kvirikashvili evoked electric circuitry as a metaphor to describe the future of rail and road connections between Europe and Asia. A graduate of the prestigious math and physics Komarov School, Kvirikashvili explained that a sequential circuit – a simple chain – crucially depends on each and every one of its links. A parallel circuit, on the other hand, allows to redirect electricity flows (or cargo and passengers) through alternative routes.  Th...
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Dec
12

Traffic Traumas

Recently, one of the authors of this article was crossing a street with a crowd of people at green pedestrian light close to Marjanishvili metro station, when a Mercedes was accelerating and heading towards the people, ignoring the red light, making the crowd splash in all directions. A police car was standing nearby, doing nothing. Walking and driving in Tbilisi is usually dangerous and stressful. When walking around, pedestrians must continuously monitor the cars in their vicinity, even when walking on the sidewalks. The task of avoiding to be hit by c...
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Nov
29

Clean Air is Lifetime

Lifetime is one of the most precious assets. People are paying huge amounts of money to extend their lifespans, sometimes for gaining only weeks or months. And imprisonment and death penalty are so widely applied punishments throughout all cultures and ages because people are scared off by the prospect of losing lifetime. As lifetime is such a valuable good, it is surprising that it is largely ignored in the policy debate. According to the World Populations Prospects report, published in 2010 by the United Nations, Georgians have a life expectancy at bir...
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Oct
21

Georgia on the Development Frontier: From Subsistence Agriculture to Exchange

While written in 1991, “The Development Frontier” by Peter Bauer has lost none of its relevance for Georgia and other predominantly agrarian economies of the 21st century. Economic development, suggests Bauer, “begins with the replacement of subsistence activities by production for sale. Producers will move out of subsistence production only if they see the advantages of doing so and if it is made possible for them to do so. They need the incentive, the opportunity, and the resources.” And this, according to Bauer, is where the traders come in. Traders m...
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