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.

Nov
23

Georgia’s Ravaging Nepotism

Georgian media is full of stories about nepotism and the funny justifications of those involved: When Irakli Garibashvili, still being Minister of the Interior, was confronted with nepotism allegations, he replied: “Don’t you know that a relative of your wife is not your relative?” When the 23-year-old brother of Vice Prime Minister Kakhi Kaladze’s wife was appointed head of the City Hall’s department for education, sports, and youth affairs, Tbilisi Mayor Davit Narmania stated that he had “known him for a long time and did not consider any oth...
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Oct
29

Nagorno-Karabakh: Peace ex Machina?

Negotiation support systems (NSS) let computers be brokers in multidimensional and highly complex negotiation problems. In the last 20 years, platforms like Smartsettle and Inspire were used in thousands of serious negotiation cases around the world, many of which were successfully resolved. Some years ago, the first author of this article was involved in an attempt to use NSS for settling a dispute between the Israeli government, which wanted to shut down one of its departments, and a labor union, which represented the employees who were affected. The m...
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Oct
08

Elites That don’t Compete

The Six Nations Championship is an annual rugby competition featuring an exclusive club of European nations: England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales. The Six Nations Championship is considered the “elite” rugby tournament of the Northern Hemisphere, matched only by another international “elite” tournament, simply called The Rugby Championship. The Rugby Championship is played out in another closed group, made up of Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, all belonging to the Southern Hemisphere.  These are the elite rugby l...
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Sep
21

Georgia’s Shrinking Population

“Georgians would have half a child if there was such a possibility”. Armenian Bishop Vazgen in Kita Buachidze’s Black Book   According to the population projections of the United Nations (constant fertility scenario), by the end of this century the Georgian people will count only 2.8 million. In 2013, Georgia has been among only 19 countries in the world with a population that decreased year on year. An aggravating factor is the sex ratio of babies, which in Georgia is heavily skewed towards males. While globally about 107 boys are born per 100 girl...
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Jul
06

The Positive Sides of Georgia’s NATO Partnership (Not Membership)

Since the Rose Revolution, pro-Western Georgian politicians strive to lead their country into the apparent safe haven of the NATO defense collective. So far membership seems far off, causing disappointment among many Georgians and affirming those who preferred less integration in the Western geopolitical bloc. The continuing debate as to whether or not Georgia should assume full membership in the alliance may be obfuscating the reality that the present relationship with the alliance is the most ideal for Georgia.  It allows for a nearly unrestricted...
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Jun
08

The Ukrainian Malaise: Will Georgians Save the Day?

When Georgia ran into a conflict with its northern neighbor in 2008, it experienced considerable solidarity on part of its main Western ally. The United States supplied military transporters to fly back Georgian troops from Afghanistan, which was correctly understood by the Russians as a warning that the US would not allow Georgia to fall. While the Russians had already taken Gori, Condoleeza Rice and Michail Saakashvili held a joint press conference in Tbilisi, just 80 km away. Surprised by the American determination to defend small Georgia, the Russian...
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