ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Apr
08

Bashar al-Assad’s Three Puzzles

In 2007, an American businessman and friend of the then Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert, was visiting Damascus before continuing his journey to Jerusalem. On the morning of his departure to Israel, the Mukhabarat, Syria’s secret service, knocked at his hotel room. The Syrian agents calmed down the scared businessman – he was not to be taken to some torture prison, of which there were many in Syria. Instead, they wanted to know what was Ehud Olmert’s favorite dish. Surprised about this question, the businessman answered “hummus”, and half an hour la...
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Mar
25

Beyond Political Slogans: Better Analysis for Better Labor Market Policies

The labor market is always a hot topic in our country, and debate about it usually overheats as elections approach. Referring to unsatisfactory labor market indicators is always a good way to emphasize the mistakes and/or the inertia of the ruling parties. Another common way to score points is making pre-election promises of increased future employment. One way or another, parties always promise and voters always believe their promises (including unrealistic ones). The only thing which does not seem to be affected is labor market, possibly because behind...
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Mar
20

Has The Orthodox Church Been Too Successful?

For a long time, it has been a taboo to criticize the Orthodox Church in Georgia. Quite recently, however, the clergymen themselves lifted this taboo by publicly carrying out their conflicts. The visit of Pope Francis in September 2016 sparked a plethora of mutual accusations. Archpriest Davit Isakadze was against the Pope’s visit and blamed the two other Archpriests Toedore Gignadze and Aleksandre Galdava for being sectarians and church enemies. These accusations were rebutted by Archpriests Levan Mateshvili and Ilia Chigladze, who called for protecting...
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Mar
04

Georgia's New European Modus Operandi

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, It was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, It was the season of light, it was the season of darkness … - Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities A CHRONICLE OF A DEATH FORETOLD? The above quote seems to fit the state of affairs in the European Union fairly well, as the EU’s crisis is continuing, getting deeper, and engulfing more actors than when it started. To name a few well-known events and stats: Greece probably had the first ...
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Feb
27

Make Kutaisi Great Again!

Have you ever heard about a mysterious law that predicts the size of a city? If you tell me the population of the largest city in a country, I can tell you the size of the second and third biggest cities. In 1949, George Zipf came up with the simple theory called the rank-size rule, or “Zipf 's law.” Applied to the size of cities, this law says that the second city and following smaller cities should represent a proportion of the largest city. For example, if the largest city in a country is populated with one million citizens, according to the law, the ...
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