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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus by ISET
Apr
30

We May Not Be Hungry, but We Are Starving...

It is a well known fact that nearly a half of Georgian population is involved in agriculture, while Georgia imports around 60% of all the food it consumes. High food import share and food security  are important issues for Georgia, widely discussed among the policy makers and in the media. One issue that remains largely in the shadows of public attention is Georgia’s struggle with nutritional deficiencies and unhealthy, undiversified diets.  Surveys show that bread is one of the main sources of calories in Georgian diets, accounting for as much...
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Apr
25

Are Working Women Happy Women? View from the Greater Caucasus

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence” – Aristotle WHY STUDY HAPPINESS? Already in ancient times philosophers debated the nature of happiness and the recipes for a happy and fulfilling life. Today this question is also hotly debated by scientists and politicians, who are particularly interested in what can be done to increase the happiness of their voters (and citizens, more generally). Happiness has become so important nowadays that four countries: Bhutan, Ecuador, UAE and Venezuela went so...
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Apr
24

Lost from the Start

14 years ago, the American educationalists Valerie E. Lee and David Burkham published a highly noticed and controversial study titled “Inequality at the Starting Gate: Social Background Differences in Achievement as Children Begin School” (Economic Policy Institute 2002). The authors work with a sample of 16,000 children who entered US kindergartens in 1998 and 1999 and who had taken the ECLS-K entry test, measuring a children’s basic reading and mathematical skills. The authors showed that the social and economic background of a child was a reliable pre...
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Apr
16

Georgian Pension Reform – an Experiment in Libertarian Paternalism?

Starting from October 1, 2017, a private retirement savings system will be launched in Georgia as part of a broader pension reform. This reform has been discussed by Nino Doghonadze and Yaroslava Babych in Decent Income in Old Age: Georgian Dream or Reality? on the ISET Economist. Today we will focus only on one very interesting aspect of the reform – the “opt-out” principle and its implementation in the Georgian realities. WHAT’S IN THE “OPT-OUT”? The proposed private retirement savings system is based on the “opt-out” principle, according to which...
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Apr
11

The Samtredia Redemption

Nino Kakulia was born in Samtredia on 15 October 1991, in the last days of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic. By the time Nino and independent Georgia were celebrating their 13th birthdays, the Georgian government embarked on a series of long overdue reforms, one of which was about cleansing the country’s higher education system from corruption.  This was undoubtedly an excellent and timely reform for Nino, an ambitious student in Samtredia’s school. Until then, to get admitted into a public university, Nino or, rather, her family, would have h...
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Apr
10

The Impact of Religion on Georgia’s Economy

According to a study from 2015 by WIN/Gallup, 93% of Georgians consider themselves to be religious. There is only one country in the world which has a higher rate, namely Thailand, where this number stands at 94%, while the same percentage of religious people as in Georgia could only be found in Armenia, Bangladesh, and Morocco. All other nations of the world are less enchanted about religion. Worldwide, on average only 63% of people say they are believers, and in some countries, like China and Japan, the number goes down to 7% and 13%, respectively. Giv...
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