ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Jun
13

The Economics of Boasting

WHO BOASTS, AND WHY? As argued by Omer Moav and Zvika Neeman in a 2012 paper (Moav taught at ISET in the past), boasting is a way to pretend that one has hidden income (“Saving Rates and Poverty: The Role of Conspicuous Consumption and Human Capital”, Economic Journal 122, pp. 933-956). While people may have a rough idea of the incomes of their neighbors, colleagues, friends, and other people they interact with, they usually do not know exactly how much they make. Hence, there is some wiggle room for speculation, and if one sees a colleague coming to wor...
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Jun
05

Obstacles for Dual Vocational Education in Georgia

In Central Europe, vocational education and training (VET) has a tradition that reaches back to medieval times. To become, say, a baker in 14th century Germany, one had to go through an apprenticeship of two years, working and learning in an existing bakery, where one was guided and supervised by a meister (master craftsman). The apprenticeship was standardized and – if successful – ended with the conferment of a certificate and admission to the baker’s guild.  Not only skills were acquired in the apprenticeship (e.g., kneading the dough) but also t...
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May
30

Patience, Genatsvale!

“The one who is patient, wins.” Georgian proverb One of the first things tourists in Georgia notice is how crazy that drive from the airport to the city is. Jumping red lights, breaking rules to take over the jeep in front, the Georgian taxi driver risks his (and not only his!) life to deliver his passenger to the destination. As a distraction from the dangerous ride, the driver might offer the famous “dzhigit” (a brave equestrian) joke: a dzhigit passes on red light, but stops on green – in case another dzhigit is crossing the road. Dzhigit-style d...
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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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Apr
25

Are Working Women Happy Women? View from the Greater Caucasus

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence” – Aristotle WHY STUDY HAPPINESS? Already in ancient times philosophers debated the nature of happiness and the recipes for a happy and fulfilling life. Today this question is also hotly debated by scientists and politicians, who are particularly interested in what can be done to increase the happiness of their voters (and citizens, more generally). Happiness has become so important nowadays that four countries: Bhutan, Ecuador, UAE and Venezuela went so...
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