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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.

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Nov
06

The Long, Hot Summer: Why We Witnessed a Spike in Forest Fires, and What Can Be Done About It – Part II (man-made fires)

Forest fires pose a threat to human life and property. As we discussed in a previous article, most countries throughout the world, Georgia included, suffered from an unusually high number of forest fires during the summer of 2017. In Georgia, this topic was the subject of a spirited public debate about whether these fires were wild or man-made. In our previous article we discussed how natural causes generate wild forest fires. We mentioned that climate change can play a major role in the occurrence of forest fires, because drier conditions and longer hot...
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Oct
02

The Long, Hot Summer: Why Did We Witness a Spike in Forest Fires and What Can Be Done About It – Part I

In the summer of 2017, Georgia experienced an unusually high number of forest fires across the entire country. 35 forest fires were recorded just in August (official data reporting the size of area burned by these fires is not yet available). In almost all regions of the country, several fires were reported. Among them, the conflagration in the Borjomi gorge had the most dramatic consequences: it lasted for seven days (20-27 August), and more than 100 hectares of forest were destroyed. Many people claim that these cannot be all accidental events. Is this...
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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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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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