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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus by ISET
Dec
05

When Good Intentions Lead to Bad Outcomes. Tree-Cutting Regulations in Tbilisi

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. Saint Bernard of Clairvaux As economic development progresses, air pollution and the lack of green spaces have become increasingly painful issues for Tbilisi citizens. In our previous blog, Breathing in Tbilisi, we discussed the negative outcomes – in terms of air pollution and tree-cutting – generated by the actions of self-interested developers facing an inert civil society and a local government that is unwilling and/or unable to protect green public spaces. While that is a classic example of market fa...
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Dec
03

The Textile Industry Stopping by in Georgia

  My dad used to tell me stories about the exciting period when the Soviet Union’s economy started faltering and public resources were suddenly up for grabs in the chaos capitalism that emerged. While this period is usually associated with the appearance of crafty oligarchs, in Georgia also less wily businessmen could exploit the circumstances, among them many Turks. As the American journal The Tennessean wrote in 1977: “Soviet blue jeans may look like jeans, but that doesn't mean they are… One of the country's most exasperating problems is trying ...
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Nov
28

TUMORROW IS ALREADY HERE

Spending a big chunk of their precious summer vacation in Armenia was not exactly my kids’ dream. Their wish list included far more exotic destinations in Africa, the Far East and Europe’s leading capitals – Vienna, Paris or London. And, yet, it did not take too much convincing for them to go on a one-week trial at TUMO’s summer school for creativity in Yerevan. All I had to do was show a few pictures from TUMO’s website: What was supposed to be a one-week trial turned into a four-week immersion into the world of photography, 3D modeling and animation (...
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Nov
26

Professionals for Georgian Agriculture

  Recently, the ISET Economist Blog wrote about the cooperative “Shamatia.” Their strawberry seedlings started to fade soon after planting. The cooperative consulted with different experts in the country to find the reason, and the solution for the problem, without success. Only after sending sample seedlings abroad was the cause of the problem revealed. In the meantime, however, the cooperative experienced losses of 15,000 GEL. Such cases are not rare in Georgian agriculture. Recent value chain studies conducted by the ISET Policy Institute indica...
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Nov
21

Structural Transformation in Georgia – In the Right Direction at a Turtle’s Pace

  Structural transformation of the economy is one of the most important determinants of economic development. Almost invariably, nations that have managed to pull themselves out of poverty were able to diversify their economies away from low productivity sectors. In advanced countries, productivity differences between sectors are generally small, and growth mostly happens because of productivity improvements within sectors. Developing countries, on the other hand, are characterized by large productivity gaps between the sectors of their economies. ...
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Nov
19

Net Metering in Georgia. Getting Ready for the Next Energy Revolution

"We have this handy fusion reactor called the SUN. You don't have to do anything, it just works, shows up every day, produces ridiculous amounts of power." Elon Musk Introduction of Tesla Energy A few weeks ago Elon Musk (CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors and Chairman of SolarCity, among others) presented two new products: solar roof tiles produced by SolarCity, and Tesla’s Powerwall 2, designed to work together to revolutionize the concept of solar PV systems. Energy sector professionals, environmentalists, and renewable energy enthusiasts around the world...
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