ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus by ISET
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Mar
17

Wood: Still the Most Affordable Fuel Option for Rural Households?

  Despite the fast pace of installing gas infrastructure throughout the country, wood remains a major household fuel in Georgia. According to Georgia’s energy balance1, in 2014, Georgian households consumed 19,131 Terajoules2 of bio fuel and waste (mainly wood). The share of wood in total energy consumed by households was 38%. Chart 1. Wood satisfies almost 40% of households’ demand on energy in Georgia According to the National Statistics Office of Georgia, in 2014, the total volume of logging in was 670,241 cubic meters of wood/timber. In additio...
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Jun
25

High Wages not Walls

People who decide to leave their country and test their luck elsewhere are usually no random sample of a population. In his 1987 paper “Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants” (American Economic Review 77, pp. 531-553), Harvard Political Scientist George J. Borjas discusses the so-called self-selection of migrants. As of 1987, the standard view among migration economists was that migrants, at least those who came to the United States, belonged to the “upper tails” of the income distributions in their home countries. As income reflects economic per...
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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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Nov
07

Georgian Tea: Finding New Strength in Unity?

After many years of chaos and utter collapse, Georgia’s once glorious tea industry is again showing signs of life. More and more individual farmers and businesses – mostly very small, but some quite ambitious, such as Geoplant (known for its “Gurieli” brand) – grow, process and pack tea. Despite competition from major producing countries and international brands, Georgian tea has great export potential because of the value attached to it all over the former Soviet Union.  While the potential is clearly there, it is not at all clear what strategy sho...
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Sep
11

Empowering Georgian ‘Plow Mothers’ (Gutnis Deda)

“The lion's whelps are equal be they male or female” – Shota Rustaveli    Giving women voice in company management may prove beneficial for performance. For instance, according to an influential Catalyst report, The Bottom Line: Corporate Performance and Women’s Representation on Boards, “companies that achieve [gender] diversity and manage it well attain better financial results, on average, than other companies.” In particular, they find that firms with the most women board directors outperform those with the least on such indicator...
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Jul
17

Tea: a Potential Gold Mine of Georgian Agriculture?

The first tea bushes appeared in Western Georgia in 1847, and since then tea production has played a significant, yet widely unknown, role in Georgia’s history. The humid and subtropical climate of Western Georgia in the regions of Guria, Samegrelo, Adjara, Imereti and Abkhazia are ideal for harvesting tea, and this was a fact eventually recognized by businessmen outside Georgia. With a commission to produce tea in the country, Lao Jin Jao, an experienced tea farmer, arrived from China in 1893. By 1900, the tea he was producing was world-class in quality...
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