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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus by ISET

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Jun
05

Commercializing Science: Story of the Phage

All over the world, the quest for technological innovation is proceeding with great intensity. Georgia is not an exception. While local universities are trying to build fab-labs (fabrication laboratories - small-scale workshops offering personal digital fabrication), the government has established the Georgian Innovation and Technology Agency (GITA) to support the creation of start-ups and tech companies. In addition, there are still a large number (more than 60) of still-operating former Soviet scientific institutions, either working independently, or u...
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May
01

Georgia’s Energy Security in a Nutshell

Listening to discussions in professional circles and among policy makers, one can easily notice that the topic of energy security is often used as a reason to justify certain decisions, or point out the problems existing in the sector. Energy security is frequently associated with energy “independence” - a condition that only few countries in the world can claim to have achieved. This leads the public to understand energy security in a very narrow sense, associated with the share of energy produced within the borders of the country, and with the diversif...
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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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Mar
06

Economic Freedom (Act): Do We Need It or Not?

The so-called “Economic Freedom Act” (EFA), which has been a matter of public discussion in recent weeks, refers to two pieces of legislation: (i) a Constitutional amendment from 2010, which requires a referendum for introducing new taxes or increasing the tax rate, and (ii) the Law on Economic Freedom (2011), in force since 2013, setting a number of additional restrictions to government fiscal policy (Table 1). Table 1. Law on Economic Freedom in Short Number of Tax...
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Jan
30

The Gazprom Deal and Georgian Energy Security. What Should Georgia do Next?

Every winter, one of the most actively discussed issues of energy policy - both on TV and in professional circles - is natural gas. Prices and supply conditions are frequently part of the political debate. The main reason behind such active discussion is energy security concerns. What is energy security? The International Energy Agency defines energy security as “the uninterrupted availability of energy sources at an affordable price.” Obviously, all countries around the world care about energy security, because interruptions in the availability of energ...
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