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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus by ISET
Adam Pellillo has not set their biography yet
Dec
04

Agriculture: An Engine of Inclusive Growth in Georgia?

Any observer of the Georgian economy would probably agree that the country has too many people employed (or, rather, under-employed) in agriculture. Historically, many countries have experienced a secular decline in the share of employment (and GDP) related to the agricultural sector. Yet, Georgia has seen limited structural change out of agriculture (other than, perhaps, into seasonal or permanent labor migration). For more than a decade, the share of employment in the agricultural sector has been around 52-54%. As illustrated in the figure below, the r...
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Nov
21

Agricultural Cooperatives Fishing for Competitiveness

Located in a beautiful gorge between Nabeghlavi and Bakhmaro, Chkhakaura village is home to tough Guruli trout fishermen. The village is difficult to reach even in a sturdy 4x4 SUV, but this does not prevent locals from taking advantage of dilapidated Soviet infrastructure and unique natural conditions to grow trout. They are five men, ages 20 to 45, who have been in joint trout farming business for more than 4 years, selling fish, roe and fry in the nearby Nabeghlavi and Bakhmaro villages. Nabeghlavi and Bakhmaro happen to be premier Georgian mineral wa...
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Oct
24

Tourism and Rural Development: The Case of Tusheti

In Georgia, it’s often said that tavisupleba mxolod mtebshia – freedom is only in the mountains. Indeed, the mountains have long shielded the small Georgian nation from much larger invaders, helping it maintain its freedom, as well as its unique culture, language and faith. Even today, getting into Georgia’s mountains is no easy task. Separated from the ‘mainland’ by the 3,000m high Abano pass, Tusheti, is an excellent case in point. The sheer ‘outworldliness’ of Tusheti, as well as its well-preserved indigenous traditions and architecture, are a powerfu...
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Apr
11

Agriculture and Rural Development in Georgia: A Research Agenda

After many years on the back burner of policy discussion in Georgia, issues related to agriculture and rural development now seem to be at the forefront of debate. And for good reason, as these issues are incredibly complex and have important implications, not only for those residing in rural areas but also for those purchasing agricultural products in towns and cities. Yet we still have much to learn about agriculture and rural development in Georgia and many questions remain, especially from a policy perspective. Are vouchers for those working in the a...
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Jan
11

Institutions, Politics, and Development

How can a society become more prosperous? This question has been on the minds of economists and policymakers for centuries. More than two hundred years ago, Adam Smith wrote that “little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice, all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things.” Yet, still today, many societies around the world are characterized not by peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice, but by c...
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Oct
12

The Puzzle of Agricultural Productivity in Georgia (and Armenia)

While more than half of all jobs in Georgia are in the agricultural sector, agriculture’s share of value added to GDP was only 11 percent in 2007 (World Bank). And although Georgia was a major producer of food, wine, tea, and mineral water during Soviet times, most of the food products on the shelves today are imported from abroad (FAO). Yet what is even more remarkable is that Georgia seems to be the only former Soviet republic in which agricultural productivity hasn’t returned to or exceeded its level in 1992. As of 2010, agricultural productivity stoo...
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