ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.

A graduate of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Eric Livny has been living and working in Georgia since April 2007. Mr. Livny was the founding director and president of the International School of Economics at TSU (ISET) and the affiliated ISET Policy Institute over a decade, through July 2018. Prior to that, Eric held leading positions with the Moscow-based New Economic School (which he helped establish in 1992), and the Economics Education and Research Consortium. In 2000-2007, Mr. Livny served as the CIS representative of the Global Development Network (GDN), and led the GDN Bridging Research and Policy Project.
Eric’s policy research and consulting activities span a wide range of issues such as foreign direct investment (FDI), trade and national competitiveness, public private partnerships (PPPs) for economic development, inclusive growth, rural development and agricultural cooperation, economics of education, migration and labor markets, transport and economic geography.
Passionate about blogging and social media, Eric serves as editor-in-chief of, and is a frequent contributor to, the ISET Economist Blog, which he created together with other ISET faculty in 2011. Additionally, he is a columnist with Georgia Today, The Financial, and the Georgian Journal.
Eric was born in St.Petersburg (Russia) but grew up in Israel, where his family emigrated in 1977. He is married to Anna Sekowska Livny, and is the father of Katya, Jan, Natalie and Tal. Eric is fluent in English, Russian, and Hebrew. His Georgian language skills are fast improving.

Jun
01

Is Small (And Medium) All That Beautiful?

  Most development practitioners subscribe to the view that vibrant small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) are crucial for the health of a country’s economy. The SME sector is crucial, the argument goes, because it creates employment and serves as a hotbed of entrepreneurial talent. Additionally, SMEs are often seen as a source of new, fast growing industries, contributing to a price-reducing and quality-improving competition with large and old firms that tend to dominate markets in small countries such as Georgia. For example, a 2011 report prepa...
Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
2735
7 Comments
Write a Comment
May
22

Europe Wants Georgia. But Not Georgians

In March 2015, 31-year-old Tamar Trapaidze died of severe toxicity in Italy. Like many Georgian women of her generation, Tamar was an illegal immigrant employed as an in-home care worker by an Italian family. Being “illegal”, she must have feared deportation, which is probably why she was unable to receive adequate medical treatment. Despite all the risks it entails, illegal immigration is a key survival strategy for many Georgian families. Since 2002, presumably the best period in Georgia’s recent history, the country has lost 14.7% of its population, m...
Tags:
Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
12833
21 Comments
Write a Comment
May
08

What Kind of "State" Does a Country Need?

When Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko visited Georgia in late April 2015, we were once again reminded that history is not over yet, certainly not in the sense pronounced by Francis Fukuyama in his 1992 book End of History and the Last Man: "What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human go...
Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
3586
1 Comment
Write a Comment
Apr
27

The US and Georgia: Finding the Common Denominator

At ISET we teach graduate economics, which uses the mathematical language to analyze economic behavior (“microeconomics”) and macroeconomic systems. Being based in Tbilisi, we heavily depend on “upstream” Georgian educational institutions, such as schools and undergraduate departments at TSU and elsewhere. Unfortunately, the level of quantitative literacy among the Georgian youth leaves much to be desired, which says something about the quality of educational programs they go through before arriving to ISET. The vast majority of our future students come ...
Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
2208
2 Comments
Write a Comment
Apr
20

Save the Mingrelian Language!

There are clear expectations in many cultures to marry somebody from their own group, and not living up to these expectations will at least cause a loss in reputation. This is nicely displayed in the movie Late Marriage by Dover Kosashvili, humorously depicting a young Georgian Jew in Israel whose parents want him to marry the “right” woman (the movie features extensive dialogues in Judeao-Georgian, another endangered language). In extreme cases, people who enter a relationship with members of other cultures may be victims of honor killings. In Europe, s...
Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
3646
12 Comments
Write a Comment
Apr
17

Lessons Learned From a Decade of Georgian Reforms. View From The Sky

Georgian reforms have become an internationally traded commodity. Underappreciated and no longer wanted at home, some of Georgia’s former reformers are doing well-paid consulting gigs in Mongolia, Central Asia, Ukraine, Moldova and further away emerging markets. Sensing a business opportunity, a group of former government officials groomed by Kakha Bendukidze, the mastermind of Georgian reforms, has recently established a consulting agency, “Reformatics”. “The chosen”, such as Georgia’s former Minister of Health Sandro Kvitashvili and former Deputy Minis...
Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
2580
8 Comments
Write a Comment

Our Partners