ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.

Florian Biermann is assistant professor at the International School of Economics at Tbilisi State University (ISET). Until 2005, he studied economics at the Humboldt University Berlin and the Free University of Berlin. After working for a year at the Institute of Mathematical Economics of Bielefeld University, in 2006 he moved to Jerusalem to pursue his Ph.D. degree at the Hebrew University (degree awarded in 2012). His doctorate was supervised by Professors Eyal Winter and Bezalel Peleg. Florian is interested in game theory, microeconomics, and mathematical economics.

Mar
21

BMW: Blocks My Way... Around Tbilisi!

The Quality of Living Survey 2012 of the international consultancy group Mercer ranks 222 cities in the world according to how livable they are. Tbilisi was ranked on Place 213, provoking furious reactions by many Georgians. On the internet, it is easy to find wild slanders against those who created the ranking and even against those who just referred to it, and there was even an online petition initiated against the ranking. Without any question, the survey does not capture crucial factors that impact the quality of life. Tbilisi, unlike Lagos in Nigeri...
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Mar
19

Georgian Farmer: From Nonperforming Landowner towards Agricultural Performer

Graph 1 shows the density of Georgian farmers’ revenues received from selling their produce, generated from the sample of 3,000 Georgian rural households. (For the motivation and methodology of our study, please refer to the article that was published here last week. It is also available online on the ISET Economist Blog: “Dumb Farmers Do Not Grow Big Potatoes”, by Florian Biermann and Ruediger Heining).  When the curve of the graph is high, it means that there are many farmers in the respective income range. When it is low, there are few. With...
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Mar
12

Dumb Farmers Do Not Grow Big Potatoes

This week, the Georgian public was shocked when a gross lack of competence and aptitude among the country’s teachers was unveiled.  As DFWatch.net reports on March 10th (quoting a Georgian source), of the 10,552 teachers registered for a competence check that took place in January, only 6,477 showed up in the first place, and of these, only 1,101 passed the test. However, the Georgian economy is struck by severe deficits in knowledge and skills in many sectors, and to find such examples, one does not have to look at industries that operate close to ...
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Feb
27

Don’t Talk about Georgia’s Future!

According to Micklewright (Macroeconomics and Data on Children, UNICEF 2000), a share of 7% of the Georgian gross domestic product of the year 1991 accounted for education. In 1994, this number had fallen to 1%. As Micklewright comments, such a dramatic decrease of educational expenditures was never seen before nor afterwards in the history of any country. Recovery after the crisis was a long process. Until 1998, spending on education had only increased to 2.1% (World Bank Development Indicators), and in 2002, wages in the educational sector were still r...
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Feb
14

Europe’s Dramatic Monetary Failure

This week, another crazy idea haunted economically faltering Europe. According to the plans of European politicians, the 500 euro note will disappear and cash payments above 5,000 euro will be made illegal. Officially a measure against money laundering, the pretext was correctly debunked by Hans-Werner Sinn in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: the true reasons for this step is to push interest rates further down. Big notes allow to store wealth in cash, and if that is not possible anymore, interest rates can be brought even further into the negative, d...
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Jan
31

Georgia Exporting Crime

Georgian crime is ravaging in Germany. On February 28th of last year, the Augsburger Allgemeine published an article titled “Police captures Georgian burglary gang”. On May 22nd, the police of Bavaria issued a press release titled “DNA proves Georgian burglars to be guilty”. On August 13th, an article in the Bietigheimer Zeitung was titled “Georgian burglars put behind bars”, mentioning that since 2010, “burglaries by Georgian perpetrators have increased dramatically”. On June 9th, the Südwest Rundfunk broadcasted a report about “Georgian gangs systemati...
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