ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus by ISET
Mar
13

How to Prevent the Tobacco Law from Going Up in Smokes?

BACKGROUND After a hike in excise tax on cigarettes in January 2017, Parliament of Georgia is going to introduce legislative changes to the existing tobacco control law (TCL) in March. Since its enactment in 2003, TCL has been modified several times. However, the recently proposed changes can be considered the most radical step towards a tobacco-free society in Georgia. New draft law comprehensively covers production, packaging, marketing, advertising, selling and consumption of tobacco, and other activities of tobacco businesses. The main changes can be...
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Feb
20

Price and Prejudice on the Georgian Market for Cigarettes

Benjamin Franklin once said, “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Yet we have a tax that could prevent hundreds of millions of premature deaths. It is time to use it more effectively. -Prabhat Jha It is a truth universally acknowledged, that cigarettes are bad for human health. Yet, whenever the government tries to regulate consumption of cigarettes by increasing their price, it gets a very mixed reaction from the public. Some people (mostly non-smokers) welcome these policies, while others accuse the government of ...
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Nov
05

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

“All the evidence shows that God was actually quite a gambler, and the universe is a great casino, where dice are thrown, and roulette wheels spin on every occasion. Over a large number of bets, the odds even out and we can make predictions; that's why casino owners are so rich. But over a very small number of rolls of the dice, the uncertainty principle is very important” – Stephen Hawking. Casinos, totalizators, and other gambling institutions are very popular in Georgia. According to the study “Gambling in Georgia – Second Report,” conducted by Transp...
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May
22

On Rational Procrastination

One of the most fundamental assumptions in mainstream economics is the rationality of humans. Yet, as argued by Timothy A. Pychyl, professor of psychology at Carleton University in Canada, frequently observed procrastinating behavior, i.e. the “needless voluntary delay” (Pychyl), cannot be reconciled with the rational man paradigm.  Pychyl claims in his book The Procrastinator’s Digest that procrastinators violate a most fundamental axiom of rationality, namely the so-called transitivity of preferences. If a person prefers dogs to cats and cats to h...
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Apr
24

Lost from the Start

14 years ago, the American educationalists Valerie E. Lee and David Burkham published a highly noticed and controversial study titled “Inequality at the Starting Gate: Social Background Differences in Achievement as Children Begin School” (Economic Policy Institute 2002). The authors work with a sample of 16,000 children who entered US kindergartens in 1998 and 1999 and who had taken the ECLS-K entry test, measuring a children’s basic reading and mathematical skills. The authors showed that the social and economic background of a child was a reliable pre...
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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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