ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.

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May
29

Universal Basic Income – a Utopian Dream that May Soon Become a Reality

Early next month, the eyes of the world will briefly turn to Switzerland. On June 5th, the citizens of this prosperous country will vote in an unprecedented referendum on the idea of guaranteeing each citizen a basic income equivalent to roughly 30,000 USD per year. At first, the idea may sound completely crazy – after all, if a basic level of income is guaranteed for everyone, why would people want to work or study to acquire a profession? Wouldn’t the entire system collapse when economic activity stops and sources of income dry up? The opinion pol...
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May
15

Deposit Insurance – a New Reality for Georgia

More than three years ago the ISET Economist blog discussed the idea of deposit insurance and how this idea may apply to Georgia. Today, the deposit insurance scheme is not merely an abstract idea, but a fast approaching reality. Recently, the Ministry of Finance of Georgia discussed a draft law on implementing the deposit insurance system in the country. According to the draft, all bank deposits in Georgia will be insured for up 5,000 GEL.  The deposit insurance program comes at a cost for banks. Each commercial bank will be obliged to pa...
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Apr
30

We May Not Be Hungry, but We Are Starving...

It is a well known fact that nearly a half of Georgian population is involved in agriculture, while Georgia imports around 60% of all the food it consumes. High food import share and food security  are important issues for Georgia, widely discussed among the policy makers and in the media. One issue that remains largely in the shadows of public attention is Georgia’s struggle with nutritional deficiencies and unhealthy, undiversified diets.  Surveys show that bread is one of the main sources of calories in Georgian diets, accounting for as much...
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Mar
26

Political Blame Games: How to Escape the Mankind’s Favorite Game of Destruction?

Imagine the following public exchange between two guys - Serge, the president, and Larry, the CEO of a company by the name Oogle: Serge (Oogle president): You know Larry, our stock market numbers look pretty good today. The Wall Street Journal said it must be because the president is taking the company in the right direction! Larry (Oogle CEO): Come on, Serge, we all know that the president is not calling all the shots around here. And by the way, the numbers would have been much better, if your design team hadn’t made those …. pink-tinted glasses. Serge...
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Mar
05

Coordination Games

Some years ago my dad, who is an avid blogger, wrote a piece about a plague of disorderly advertising that was chocking Kyiv. Notices promoting everything under the sun were plastered on the walls, fences, lamp-posts, in metro cars, on the bus stops, even on the pavement. Our own building’s entrance was a sad sight - always covered with debris of paper and glue. Our neighbor, and elderly lady, laboured heroically to wash off the wall and the door frame every now and then, but it was a Sisyphean task.  The clean wall only served as a magnet for ...
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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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