ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus by ISET
Nov
21

Asian Invasion: Stink Bug in Georgia

Nikoloz M., 65, from the Imeretian village of Jikhaishi, invested around 15,000 GEL into his 8.5 ha hazelnut orchard in 2012, hoping that one day his initiative would turn into a profitable business. Nikoloz was on his way to success up until this year, before the stink bug, or Asian pharosana, as Georgians call it, appeared in his orchard. While Nikoloz expected to harvest 800 kg – 1000 kg of hazelnuts per ha, the stink bug infestation reduced his harvest by 30-35%, resulting in a loss of more than 1,000 GEL per ha. For a rural household with average an...
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Nov
06

The Long, Hot Summer: Why We Witnessed a Spike in Forest Fires, and What Can Be Done About It – Part II (man-made fires)

Forest fires pose a threat to human life and property. As we discussed in a previous article, most countries throughout the world, Georgia included, suffered from an unusually high number of forest fires during the summer of 2017. In Georgia, this topic was the subject of a spirited public debate about whether these fires were wild or man-made. In our previous article we discussed how natural causes generate wild forest fires. We mentioned that climate change can play a major role in the occurrence of forest fires, because drier conditions and longer hot...
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Oct
30

Georgia’s Democracy: the Puzzle of a Red Country Turning Blue

On October 21, 2017, Georgia’s entire political map was painted in different shades of blue – the color of the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party. GD won in all but one race in the country’s municipal elections – achieving solid majorities in all sakrebulo (city councils) and placing party-backed candidates as mayors in all cities and self-governing communities. Such results are quite unusual, and nearly impossible to achieve nowadays in the politically polarized atmosphere of Western Europe, UK or the U.S. Do they suggest that GD has been except...
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Oct
23

Telavi, the Capital of Georgian Beer Drinking?

Telavi, the former capital of the Kingdom of Kakheti, is a beautiful town with spectacular views of the Alazani Valley and Caucasian mountains. In the 18th century, King Erekle II reigned from Telavi. The palace can still be seen, and the statue of King Erekle stands proudly in the middle of the city's town square. More importantly for the city dwellers, Telavi is the capital of Georgia’s traditional winemaking.  This month, however, the capital of Georgia’s winemaking has for a couple of days become the capital of Georgian beer drinking, in the bes...
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Oct
16

Strong Leader = Successful Team?!

The cooperative movement in Georgia started back in 2013 with EU support, through the launching of the ENPARD project, a major component of which is the development of agricultural cooperatives across Georgia. According to the Agricultural Cooperatives Development Agency, there are 1,500 agricultural cooperatives in Georgia, and more than 250 of them have been supported by the ENPARD program (for locations of these cooperatives see the map). Not all those newborn cooperatives will be successful, and their sustainability depends on many factors. THE THEOR...
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Oct
09

One Notch More Attractive to Investors with Deep Pockets

Just recently, a rare occurrence made the headlines in Georgia: Moody’s Investors Service upgraded the government of Georgia’s local and foreign currency issuer ratings first time in seven years, to Ba2 from Ba3, with commentary that the outlook remains stable. This news was met with great excitement, but was soon overshadowed by the unfortunate news of Georgia’s downgrade on the Global Competitiveness Indicators, without fully appreciating or understanding the significance of the Moody's upgrade. SO WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT? Moody's Investors Service provid...
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