ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.

Maka Chitanava holds BA in State and Municipal Governance from Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University (TSU) and MA in Economics from ISET. She has been with ISET and ISET-Policy Institute since 2008. Currently Ms. Chitanava is senior researcher and is involved in a variety of policy research projects, focused on social policy analysis and regulation.
Apart from the research she is delivering trainings on a variety of public policy issues and is visiting lecturer at University of Georgia. Courses taught by her are: Principles of Micro and Macroeconomics, Fiscal Decentralization and Local Economic Development, History of Economic Thought. Ms. Chitanava is regular blogger at the ISET Economist Blog.

Jan
29

Fighting Drug Addiction: Can Georgia Do It Better? An Economist's View of Georgia’s Drug Policy Reform

Drug policy reform is now at the center of a heated debate in Georgia. Despite the importance of the subject, however, most of the discussions I have heard so far are based on phobias and myths, rather than on evidence. This is a pity, as society will ultimately have to decide on the subject by voting YES or NO on this reform, thereby choosing between very different potential outcomes. Having an informed opinion on the issue is, therefore, extremely important. Let’s start from the beginning - what are Georgia’s major drug-related problems? 1. Georgia ran...
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Jun
24

Making Nature’s Value Visible as a Step Towards (Greater) Sustainable Development

After the Rose Revolution, in the name of of economic growth, the Georgian government set aside environmental issues and focused on a quick economic recovery. This is understandable, as the Georgian economy was still recovering from the collapse of the early 90’s, and the pressure to accelerate the process was high. At that time, the existing environmental regulations were perceived as an additional constraint to faster growth, and as potentially fertile ground for corruption. Getting rid of those regulations was perceived as the fastest and most effecti...
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May
20

Who Said “First Duty, Then Pleasure”? When Happiness and Success (Individual and National) Go Hand in Hand

  According to the recent World Happiness Report 2017, Georgia ranks 125th among 155 countries with respect to peoples’ happiness. On a 0-10 happiness scale, the country scores only 4.29. Figure 1 below presents rankings and happiness scores for Georgia and its neighbors, as well as for the world’s best and worst performers. The top five countries - Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and Finland - are clustered so tightly that the differences among them are not statistically significant; they could be merged in a single “top performing cluster” w...
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Apr
10

If You Could Choose Where to Be Born What Country Would You Pick?

Note: Countries in red and yellow are the ones where respondents of the survey would like to be born. The first 11 countries in ranking are in red, rest in yellow. Countries in light gray were not mentioned at all. The ISET team conducted an online survey that began with the following question: if you could choose where to be born, what country would you pick? We intentionally formulated the question in this way, which is very different from asking “where would you like to travel or to migrate?” This formulation was meant to allow us to look into charact...
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Mar
25

Beyond Political Slogans: Better Analysis for Better Labor Market Policies

The labor market is always a hot topic in our country, and debate about it usually overheats as elections approach. Referring to unsatisfactory labor market indicators is always a good way to emphasize the mistakes and/or the inertia of the ruling parties. Another common way to score points is making pre-election promises of increased future employment. One way or another, parties always promise and voters always believe their promises (including unrealistic ones). The only thing which does not seem to be affected is labor market, possibly because behind...
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Feb
18

Marriage: Till Death Do Us Part(?)

  Premise: I have to admit from the beginning that I am not married myself, thus what is written below is an outsider’s insights into explaining the phenomena of marriage. Marriage is a phenomenon strongly intertwined within our culture and everyday life. It is almost a “must do” thing in Georgian traditional society, and it has to be approved either by religious authority or by the state, or both. A recent study about Georgian youth entitled “Generation in Transition, Youth Study Georgia – 2016” by the Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung, shows the 14-29 age ...
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