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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus by ISET
Olga Azhgibetseva has not set their biography yet
Apr
17

How Businessmen Grow Wings

  Everybody knows Bakar and Tengo (BATE Generals), two businessmen from a very popular Georgian TV series, 'My wife's best friends' ('ჩემი ცოლის დაქალები'), who became incredibly rich from a start-up with a seemingly 'nonsense' idea to export the 'tails' of khinkali (traditional Georgian dumplings) to Bulgaria. Later on, BATE Generals created a special office for ideas, where their relatives and unemployed friends of their friends were solicited to generate promising business ideas. BATE Generals is paying a fixed amount to the idea generator and a ...
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Apr
01

What Does It Take to Become a “Vakeli“?

Vake has always been one of the most prestigious districts in Tbilisi and being a “Vakeli” has been associated with high social status for no obvious reasons. In the picture: Vake Park, one of a few green places in Tbilisi and thus a big asset for the Vake district. Maybe having an opportunity to walk every day in this park makes people living in Vake so special. The recent publication of the Real Estate Laboratory (REM Lab), a joint project of ISET, TBC Bank and JumpStart, reports a remarkable growth in the real estate market in 2016. The growth was obs...
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Feb
25

Law Can’t Buy Me Love… To The National Currency

  Beginning in July 2017, if an entrepreneur offers and/or advertises a property and/or service for sale in the territory of Georgia, the price of the property/service shall be expressed solely in GEL. According to the bill, failure to abide by the new law when denominating the price will lead to a warning, while a repeated offense will lead to a penalty of 1000 GEL. Each subsequent offense will be subject to a penalty of 5000 GEL. BACKGROUND INFORMATION This law is one of a few changes which will take place in support of a de-dollarization plan imp...
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Dec
13

Is Georgia Heading towards an Oversupply of Hotels?

Citizens of Georgia’s capital recently witnessed the luxurious Biltmore Hotel Tbilisi grand opening. A $140 million investment by the Dhabi Group supplied the market with 214 luxury rooms and suits.  The $2 million opening, huge building and central location (right on Rustaveli Avenue) made the appearance of this hotel on the market very noticeable.  However, with much less lavish ceremonies, in total 37 hotels were opened in Georgia just this year, as reported by the Georgian National Tourism Agency (GNTA), which amounts to an additional 1,472...
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Jun
13

The Economics of Boasting

WHO BOASTS, AND WHY? As argued by Omer Moav and Zvika Neeman in a 2012 paper (Moav taught at ISET in the past), boasting is a way to pretend that one has hidden income (“Saving Rates and Poverty: The Role of Conspicuous Consumption and Human Capital”, Economic Journal 122, pp. 933-956). While people may have a rough idea of the incomes of their neighbors, colleagues, friends, and other people they interact with, they usually do not know exactly how much they make. Hence, there is some wiggle room for speculation, and if one sees a colleague coming to wor...
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Feb
20

Did Azerbaijan Enter the Post-Oil Era?

Sometimes, transformation requires a crisis. Economists in particular are very well aware of this maxim. We are reminded of it every time a country undergoes an economic shock. A country in those times is a bit like a patient who gets the last warning from a doctor to drop the unhealthy habits or face irreversible consequences. One of these scenarios has been unfolding in front of our eyes during the past year. Georgia’s neighbor and one of the largest trading partners, Azerbaijan, has been going through tough times. THE UNFOLDING OF A CRISIS In the last...
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