ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Jun
29

Why Armenia Is Not (Yet) Ukraine?

  Yerevan is presently rife with protest. Dubbed “Electric Yerevan,” the protests are aptly named considering that they began as a result of Armenia’s government succumbing to demands by the country’s electricity distribution monopoly (Electric Network of Armenia (ENA)) to raise regulated tariffs by 16.7% as of 1 August, 2015. ENA is owned by Inter RAO UES, a Russian energy giant, giving rise to suggestions that Armenian officials are effectively serving Russian interests. Yet, the hike in electricity prices, which the government had initially resis...
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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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Jan
23

Georgia’s Trade in 2014: Does Export Decline Suggest a Loss of Competitiveness?

According to the latest GEOSTAT figures, merchandize exports from Georgia decreased by 1.63% between 2013 and 2014. This is certainly not great news for the country, but does it imply that Georgian goods have become less competitive on the world market? Recent trade data suggest that this is not necessarily the case. The first thing to note is that much of the decline in exports is related to one particular activity – the re-exports of Georgian cars to Azerbaijan and Armenia. Beginning in 2009, this business has become a “cash cow”, capitalizin...
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Oct
17

Handling Frozen Conflicts: the Economic Angle

It now seems more and more likely that Eastern Donbass (the area currently controlled by the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics) will become a frozen conflict zone, a territory in which the Ukrainian government will have little power to enforce its laws and where slowly a parallel governance system, an unrecognized ‘quasi-state’, will emerge. In the absence of a viable military alternative, one option likely to be considered by Ukraine and its Western allies is to exercise ‘strategic patience’. As discussed in a Foreign Policy article...
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