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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus by ISET
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May
22

Free or Fearful? The Fear of Floating in the South Caucasus

In economics there is a long-standing debate on whether emerging markets should adopt a fixed exchange rate currency regime or leave their exchange rates up to markets to decide. Intuitively, exchange rate is just another price, similar to the price on a sack of potatoes, a liter of milk or a kilogram of honey. Except that exchange rate is the price of 1 unit of foreign currency (say, 1 US dollar) in terms of our domestic currency. Textbook economics would tell us that price flexibility is essential for markets to function well, to quickly clear up any s...
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Apr
19

Bread Should Be Baked By the Baker!

"Sixty-Eight Million Dollars Were Given for Colleges Last Year: – if  the Mania for College Education Continues We May Soon Expect the Above State of Affairs" American and Western European visitors to Georgia are fascinated by the fact that middle-aged Georgian taxi drivers often brandish a couple of engineering degrees, while young hotel receptionists and shop assistants frequently come with law, business and international relations education. Having spent a couple of days in Tbilisi, visitors may come to imagine that Georgia is so abundant in huma...
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Mar
27

In Georgia Education Matters (But Probably Will Not Make You Rich)

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school” – Albert Einstein It is widely recognized that education is the key to the future. In general, educated people have higher earnings and lower unemployment rates and highly-educated countries grow faster and innovate more than the other countries. Therefore, in the recent economic literature, education is considered as an investment good and look for the other investments, there is the costs and benefits of the investments in the education. The cost of the education is the ...
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Feb
04

How to De-Dollarize in a Smart Way: Lessons from the Georgian and Foreign Experiences

Unofficial (partial) dollarization describes a situation when a foreign currency is used alongside the domestic currency for transactions purposes and as a store value. High partial dollarization is not good for a country, as it ties the hands of its Central Bank when it wants to use monetary policy. In a highly dollarized economy, national currency depreciation can even lead to financial instability. As a transition economy, Georgia is characterized by high levels of dollarization. Therefore, recent waves of lari depreciation has prompted authorities to...
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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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Sep
26

Less Taxes = Higher Growth? Or not?

    Cutting taxes and achieving higher economic growth as a result is every politician’s dream. The 2016 parliamentary elections of Georgia showed just how important and controversial the question of taxation can become.  On the one hand, the Global Competitiveness Index Report that came out this month puts Georgia in the top 10 (9th place) among the countries with lowest tax rates. The current administration’s plans to abolish taxes on undistributed profit is likely to improve this ranking even more. On the other hand, many politicians a...
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