ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus by ISET

Maya GRIGOLIA holds an MA in Economics from ISET and a BA in Mathematics from TSU. After graduating (in 2008), she started working at ISET as a research associate, specializing in macroeconomics. Grigolia teaches macroeconomics, principles of economics, statistics and data analysis in TSU's Economics and Business Faculty. In 2011, she was accepted as a Senior Research Associate with the ISET Policy Institute.


Ms. Grigolia has been involved in independent studies of the effectiveness of the Georgian public sector in the wake of the 2008 war and global financial crisis as macroeconomics analyst. In addition, she is the coordinator and leading instructor in ISET's training program for the banking sector. Maya Grigolia is a PhD student at Tbilisi State University's (TSU).

Feb
08

Estonia Inspiring Georgian Reformers

There is a lot of affinity among Estonia and Georgia, two tiny nations for centuries caught between the Russian rock and the German or Ottoman/Persian hard place. Common fate may be, indeed, the reason for Georgia’s topping the list of Estonian development cooperation priorities. Georgia is the largest recipient of Estonia’s bilateral aid, most of which is about sharing the Estonian experience of establishing itself as a new European democracy and a unique place to do business. Uniqueness is a huge asset for small countries trying to carve out their nich...
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Sep
18

Confidence Matters!

Georgian consumer confidence suffered a major blow at the end of 2014, in the wake of the sharp Lari depreciation. Around February 2015, the Index found some support at the very low level of -35-30 points, and has been slightly improving since then. In July 2015, this mildly positive trend was reversed, and in August, the Index dropped another 4.1 points to reach a new historical minimum of -38.4 points. Interestingly, this entire drop was driven by older respondents, those aged over 35. We will come back to this point later in the article. At the same ...
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Mar
04

Lari Depreciation: Is a Financial Crisis on the Horizon?

The recent bouts of sharp lari depreciation caused much anxiety among the Georgian population, prompting fears of inflation, loan defaults, and bank failures, on the one hand, and the typically Georgian political speculations over “who is to blame”, on the other. In and of itself, a moderate lari depreciation is not necessarily a bad thing for the Georgian economy. It makes Georgia cheaper and more competitive relative to the rest of the world, reducing the current account deficit and carrying a promise of future investment and jobs. That said, a deep an...
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Jun
02

Pawnshop Mentality

“Jewelry you can pawn whenever you encounter financial difficulties", we were told by a friend. In our circles of acquaintances there are quite a number of people who enjoy the services of pawnshops. The reasons range from renovating apartments, paying tuition for children, and buying new hi-fi systems for the car, to repaying the 1000 lari that the 18 year-old son had lost in gambling. According to a survey of GeoStat (which accounts for all figures provided in this article), in 2013 the annual interest rate on pawnshop loans was 54,1%. For loans denomi...
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Apr
07

Do Economies Need Economists?

According to a rumor circulating among economists, there exists an econometric study which shows that the economy of a nation is doing worse the more great economists it produces. While this may be a myth, casual observation suggests that the correlation between the economic performance of a country and the quality of its economics profession is indeed unclear. The United Kingdom was home to the greatest economists of all times (Adam Smith, John Maynard Keynes, and David Ricardo, to name just a few), yet throughout great parts of the 20th century, the Br...
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Jun
28

Georgian Banking Sector Development: Is There Room for Growth?

The Georgian economy faces many challenges, not least of which are access to finance and the extremely high cost of financing private enterprises. With the cost of borrowing (real interest rate) reaching 17.3% on average in April 2013, businesses find it very difficult to function, let alone invest in innovative technologies, long-term growth and development. These challenges can be directly traced to issues raised in one of the ISET Economist blogs: the Georgian financial industry is still very far from being a well-developed, efficiently functioning sy...
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