ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
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Does Your Smartphone Make You an “Unconscious” Villain?

Our dependence on smartphones can hardly be described as anything other than addictive. We invariably use them to document trips and thus to have the world at our fingertips. Though, these precious little gadgets have a dark history that we, as consumers, unconsciously support. Unfortunately, we will not be able to discuss in detail all the negative impacts within the supply chain of smartphones. Nonetheless, we wish this article to serve as an awakening, and a reminder, of what we as consumers are promoting. Moreover, what we - and governments - could d...
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William Nordhaus’ Models – a Dubious Equation for the Climate Debate

In preparation for the COP24 climate change conference in Poland, in December 2018, researchers published a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) outlining how significant the consequences of climate change would be following a global increase in temperature of just a half degree, from 1.5 to 2 degrees C. In the wake of the newly released IPCC report, alongside William Nordhaus’ Nobel Memorial award, this year’s winner in economics, a heated debate has surfaced. This has come about not only with the instigators in Sweden publis...
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Pursuing Real Growth: The Importance of This Year’s Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for the Planet and for Us

This year has plagued a number of countries with tremendous natural disasters and extreme weather events. Greece was challenged with extensive fires and South Africa with a shortage of water. As late as November this year, the US was still struggling to tame forest fires. Something is certainly happening with the climate. These problems arise from society only been concerned with growth. The issue is that for far too long we have been assuming that economic growth has no impact on the climate and, more generally, on nature. It is especially concerning th...
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The Quest of Finding Blue Money

Do you happen to have some 1.7 trillion USD to spare? Somewhere between 2 and 10% of the Georgian population suffers from lack of basic access to drinking water (Global High-level Panel on Water and Peace, 2017; The Global Water Partnership and OECD, 2015). Globally, 1 in 4 people will be affected by shortages of fresh water by the year 2050 (United Nations, 2018). It is therefore necessary to look at financial instruments that could help safeguard the supply of fresh water. Here, we will look at examples of such financial instruments, which have, for in...
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Air Quality in Georgia. How Are We Doing?

If you are a governmental stakeholder, civil society organization, research institute or a concerned citizen pondering the state of the environment, the biennial Environmental Performance Index (EPI) tells an inconvenient truth regarding the trajectory of each country and their performance. The rankings provide unpolished results concerning countries and their commitments, or lack thereof, to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other complementary international agreements. The EPI list should provide signposts for policymakers to fathom what act...
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The Knowing of Not Knowing in Water Management (and how to tackle the issue)

  The Georgian government is currently facing some tremendous challenges in adjusting to the EU Association Agreement (AA). A particularly problematic area of reform concerns the implementation of Directive 2000/60/EC, aka the European Water Framework Directive (WFD). Properly managing water resources is an extremely difficult endeavor that requires a deep understanding of all the mechanisms at work. Failing to adequately manage water resources could have profound and long lasting negative consequences, both in terms of the development perspectives ...
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