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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.

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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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Jan
14

How Can We Revitalize the Struggling Georgian Agricultural Sector?

LEFT BEHIND Between 1990 and 1994, the Georgian economy experienced one of the sharpest declines in economic activity in recent history, with GDP per capita falling by more than 70 percent. Since then, however, especially after 2003, it has been growing quite fast, with the Georgian GDP per capita overtaking the 1990 level in 2013. However, the Georgian agricultural sector, in the same period, has been characterized by a quite different trend, as shown in Figure 1. Figure 1. GDP Per Capita and Agriculture Value Added as a Share of GDP During the crisis ...
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Dec
05

When Good Intentions Lead to Bad Outcomes. Tree-Cutting Regulations in Tbilisi

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. Saint Bernard of Clairvaux As economic development progresses, air pollution and the lack of green spaces have become increasingly painful issues for Tbilisi citizens. In our previous blog, Breathing in Tbilisi, we discussed the negative outcomes – in terms of air pollution and tree-cutting – generated by the actions of self-interested developers facing an inert civil society and a local government that is unwilling and/or unable to protect green public spaces. While that is a classic example of market fa...
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Nov
19

Net Metering in Georgia. Getting Ready for the Next Energy Revolution

"We have this handy fusion reactor called the SUN. You don't have to do anything, it just works, shows up every day, produces ridiculous amounts of power." Elon Musk Introduction of Tesla Energy A few weeks ago Elon Musk (CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors and Chairman of SolarCity, among others) presented two new products: solar roof tiles produced by SolarCity, and Tesla’s Powerwall 2, designed to work together to revolutionize the concept of solar PV systems. Energy sector professionals, environmentalists, and renewable energy enthusiasts around the world...
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Oct
31

To Cut or Not to Cut? Shifting Government Priorities and the Uncertain Future of Georgian Agricultural Cooperatives

“I cannot see any use [for the cooperative I have set up] if I cannot find anywhere [someone] willing to lend us money” Spanish Priest – 1908 (Cited in Garrido, S. 20071) THE GEORGIAN AGRICULTURAL SECTOR AND THE POTENTIAL ROLE OF AGRICULTURAL COOPERATIVES The Republic of Georgia was among the fastest Former Soviet Union countries to implement a large scale land reform and land redistribution plan, starting in 1992. Land redistribution resulted in the formation of hundreds of thousands of small family farms, replacing large-scale collectives and productio...
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