ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Nov
16

Less Bureaucracy Is Good, But Not Good Enough!

“Why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up” – Thomas Wayne to his son (Batman).   The Georgian Government’s pride and joy of the previous years has been its high standing in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index. Investors, policymakers, and economy-watchers around the world have opened editions of magazines like The Economist to see full-page advertisements about why Georgia is ‘different’ among Post-Soviet countries when it comes to doing business. A line such as “Georgia is different because we are the World Bank’s ...
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Nov
14

Tax Inspection With A Human Face?

Apostle Matthew was a tax collector in Galilee -- perhaps the most hated occupation in the ancient world.By quitting his job and deciding to follow Jesus, Mathew accomplished one the greatest transformations possible in a person’s life. Modern tax inspectors are certainly not expected to follow Jesus. However, by following insights from behavioral economics, they may gain in respect and social status while also improving tax collection, in Georgia and elsewhere around the world. As discussed in our previous article, Georgia’s tax administr...
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Oct
22

Tbilisi: the New Regional Shopping Bonanza or What?

As suggested by ISET’s most recent Consumer Confidence report, Georgian consumers are in no mood for shopping. And, yet, Tbilisi is abuzz with excitement about the recent lavish opening of East Point – a giant new shopping and entertainment center, the largest of its kind in the country.  Thus, while consumer confidence is hitting new lows, supply of retail space and world class shopping malls continues to hit its highs. A natural question arises: is Georgia’s retail market able to accommodate this surge in the supply of retail space? SUPPLY OF...
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Oct
10

Excise Tax Experiments with the Georgian Beer Industry

During the last 12 months, the Georgian authorities have been conducting interesting experiments designed, so it seems, to test the resilience of domestic beer producers. In September 2014, the industry was hit by Article 171 of the Civil Code, prohibiting alcohol consumption in public places. The beer market, 97% of which is supplied by local producers, has immediately shrank by 22% (in physical volume, see chart), in annual terms. As if that were not bad enough, the Georgian Ministry of Finance had another surprise up its sleeve: a doubling of excise t...
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Oct
01

On Innovation, Coffeehouses and Georgian Supras

According to Steve Johnson (a popular American science writer and media theorist, the author of Where Good Ideas Come From), coffee and coffeehouses were a significant contributor to Europe’s scientific and industrial revolution. The first coffeehouses opened in London in 1650, and quickly mushroomed all over Europe. The coffeehouse had two major positive effects. First, it provided a healthy alternative to water (heavily contaminated) and alcohol (heavily abused at the time). And, second, as more and more intellectuals switched to coffee, the coffe...
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