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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.

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May
23

Georgian Shadow Economy - its Past and its Legacy

The existence of a sizeable shadow (or second, informal) economy in the USSR was and is well-known. The Soviet era was characterized by a very rigid formal system with a high level of bureaucratization and inefficient planning. This resulted in many problems, both in terms of production and consumption. Soviet consumers experienced constant frustration and dissatisfaction caused by endlessly searching for goods and services they demanded, the need to queue for them without any guarantee of getting what they wanted, and the risk of having instead to accep...
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Feb
28

Access to Electricity: Is Off-the-Grid an Option?

Assuring access to modern energy services for the whole population is a crucial step to improve human well-being and stimulate economic and social development. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has identified the lack of access to modern energy services as one of the main obstacles to overcome in order to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals. In its 2011 World Energy Outlook, the IEA argued forcefully about the need to find and mobilize the resources required to extend access to modern energy services to the poor around the world. Transition c...
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Oct
11

Electricity Generation in Georgia II: Blowing Wind into the System

In the first part of our article we pointed out that electricity generation by hydropower is subject to strong seasonal variations. We argued that the seasonality of hydropower reduces the profitability of new plants, as they deliver the highest output in the time of the year when electricity is relatively cheap anyway, while they produce rather little when electricity is expensive. There are other problems why the potential of additional hydro power plants to solve Georgia’s energy problem are limited. Chart 4 shows a simple projection for 2020: The pro...
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Oct
04

Electricity Generation in Georgia I: The Seasonality Problem

In our two-part article we discuss how combining wind and hydropower can help the Republic of Georgia to achieve energy independence and become a net energy exporter. OVERVIEW Due to the geomorphological characteristics of its territory and to its geographical location, the Republic of Georgia is rich in hydro resources. According to the Georgian Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, so far Georgia has been exploiting only about 20% of its hydro resource potential. Since 2006 the Georgian government has been planning to utilize these resources to not...
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Jun
14

Khudoni and Georgia’s Energy Policy Dilemma: Go Green or Go Greedy

Khudoni, Georgia’s largest hydropower investment project, is again making the headlines.  According to a recent statement by Georgia’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Kakha Kaladze, the project will be put on hold at least until March 1, 2014. To give readers a bit of context, Khudoni’s planned capacity is in excess of 700 MW; its annual generation potential stands at about 1,5 TW/h, dwarfing other hydropower projects currently under MoUs with international investors. If built, Khudoni would be the second largest HPP in Georgia after Enguri...
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Apr
09

The Gender Pay Gap

Large gaps exist between male and female wages across the world. Eurostat data about the unadjusted Gender Pay Gap (GPG) represent the difference between average gross hourly earnings of male and female paid employees as a percentage of average gross hourly earnings of male paid employees. In 2011, in the EU, women earned 16.2 percent less per hour compared to men.  The difference varies from 2.3% for Slovenia till 27.3 % for Estonia. The Worldbank Development Report on Gender Equality analyzed data of sixty-four developing and developed countries a...
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