ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus by ISET
Giorgi Mekerishvili has not set their biography yet
Jun
10

An Economist’s Comment on “Dodge or Die” on the Streets of Tbilisi

[“Dodge or Die” is a series of reports on the relationship between the pedestrian and the motorist in Georgia by Robert Linkous]. As Stephen Dowling put it in his BBC News article a few years ago, “when it comes to crossing the road, there's no such thing as an international standard. Every country does it differently.” How people drive and cross the road, according to Dowling, is a matter of a country’s cultural values. Is it really? Bad traffic habits are a grave problem in many cities around the world. Yet, while many have managed to largely solve the...
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Jun
03

Riding the Dragon

Cultural and intellectual achievements herald economic success of a people, and the Chinese cultural and intellectual heritage is breathtaking. The Chinese discovered gunpowder, the compass, and the movable type printing press long before the Europeans. Admiral Zheng He’s fleet reached Mogadishu and Mombasa with up to 28,000 sailors at the same time when the Europeans set out to discover Africa with crews of not more than 300 sailors. Temporarily lamed by Mao and his followers, capitalism has unleashed the dragon once again! China is about to become the ...
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Mar
22

On Social Planning, Symphonies and Cacophonies

An unprejudiced look at the Georgian economy is rather disenchanting. Starting in 1990 at a per capita income that was close to Poland’s, Georgia went into a free fall as a result of secession wars, loss of markets, an explosion of crime and corruption, and the staggering incompetency of its governments. It took Georgia 17 years, until 2007, to merely return to where it stood at the end of the Soviet Union. In these 17 years, Poland increased its output per capita by almost 700%, achieving a level of more than 25% percent of its neighbor Germany. While G...
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Feb
15

Is Some Degree of Corruption Good for Growth? – It Could Be.

It is a commonly accepted view that corruption is bad for economic growth. It leads to an inefficient allocation of resources by contradicting the rules of fair competition and by setting wrong incentives. Patronage and bribery are two components that define the notion of corruption and which cause the inefficiencies associated with it. Patronage often leads to the unfair delegation of the power of decision making to economic agents who do not posess the relevant skills to make good decisions. In the absence of patronage, ceteris paribus, the power of de...
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Jan
09

Snobbism and Status Concerns – Primitives of Georgian Socio-historical Psychology and Their Economic Implications

A bit of history: In 1905, Max Weber, in his masterpiece, “The Protestant Ethics and Spirit of Capitalism”, proposed an interesting hypothesis which claimed that Protestantism, Calvinism and Puritan ethics influenced development of capitalism. Since, Catholic Church rejected worldly affairs and constantly preached for its parish that the goal of existence is afterlife rather than life itself, it also implied rejection of pursuit of wealth and possession. Starting from the 17th century, emergence of various Protestant church movements, first in Engla...
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Dec
19

Detecting Tourism Bottlenecks

Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index of UN (T&T CI) ranked Georgia 73, in 2011. With this rank, Georgia topped South Caucasus region nevertheless, maintaining the same rank as in 2009. This could mean that not much had improved during those three years in terms of competitiveness of Georgia as a brand in the business of tourism. Looking at the data on international tourist arrivals and international tourism receipts – they both have been steadily increasing since 2000. From the first glance this upward trend seems promising. We have more tourist...
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