ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Sep
20

ISET’s Consumer Confidence Index Shoots through the Roof

In September 2016, ISET’s Consumer Confidence Index added 13 points, the single largest monthly increase in the Index since its launch more than 4 years ago. Having risen from -28.7 to -15.7 points, the CCI rebounded to levels we have last observed about two years ago, in fall 2014 (i.e. at the outset of the GEL devaluation drama). Both the Expectations and Present Situation components of the CCI soared (up by 11.1 and 14.9 points, respectively), breaking historical records for monthly increases. On the one hand, the latest improvement in the CCI extends...
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Sep
12

Do Teachers Respond to Incentives? Results of a Philanthropic Experiment in Sachkhere, Georgia

  What can bring the brightest among Georgian university graduates to the country’s public schools? While money alone may not do the trick, it is difficult to see a solution that does not represent a radical departure from the current remuneration system which places teachers – who hold the keys to Georgia’s future as a nation! – at the very bottom of the social ladder. Not only teachers remain the lowest paid category of Georgian workers but the gap between the annual average wage in education and other sectors of the economy has been widening over...
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Sep
06

Homo Economicus Sisyphus

In the last two decades, happiness has moved into the focus of economic inquiry. Frey and Stutzer (“What can Economists Learn from Happiness Research”, Journal of Economic Literature 20, 2002, pp. 402-435) argue convincingly that gross domestic product (GDP), unemployment, inflation, and many other indicators of economic performance are primarily interesting because they are correlated with the well-being of people. Without the assumption that these parameters are proxies for happiness, there would be no reason to pursue economic policies that maximize i...
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Sep
05

Georgian Pension Reform – an Experiment in Libertarian Paternalism?

Starting from October 1, 2017, a private retirement savings system will be launched in Georgia as part of a broader pension reform. This reform has been discussed by Nino Doghonadze and Yaroslava Babych in Decent Income in Old Age: Georgian Dream or Reality? on the ISET Economist. Today we will focus only on one very interesting aspect of the reform – the “opt-out” principle and its implementation in the Georgian realities. WHAT’S IN THE “OPT-OUT”? The proposed private retirement savings system is based on the “opt-out” principle, according to which...
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Jul
11

Overworked and Underpaid

WORKING OVERTIME…  In 2014, 22% of the Georgia’s working adults reported having worked more than 40 hour per week, i.e. working overtime. This many not sound like a lot, but, as any average figure, it hides a great deal of geographic variation in the incidence of overtime work. Very few people work overtime in places where there are almost no jobs, such as Kakheti or Racha. Conversely, more than 50% work over 8 hours/day in the dynamically developing Tbilisi, and as many as 44% in the adjacent Kvemo Kartli.  With so many people doing it, ...
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