ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Oct
03

Breathing in Tbilisi

Tempelhofer Feld is a beloved communal recreation area of Berliners. Tempelhofer Feld is not just a park. It is a park built instead of an airport. In 2008, when the almost century old Tempelhofer airport was closed, the city of Berlin declared the centrally located, 386-hectare (!) open space for public use. Today, the area has a six-kilometer cycling, skating and jogging trail, a 2.5-hectare barbeque area, a dog-walking field covering around four hectares, and an enormous picnic area for visitors – everything we, Tbilisi citizens, can only dream of. Ju...
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May
08

No Price Caps in the Electricity Wholesale Market!

This article is about a highly technical matter. To avoid losing all our readers in the very beginning, let us start with a famous doctrine by Montesquieu: Les lois inutiles affaiblissent les lois nécessaires. This principle, literally meaning “useless laws weaken the necessary laws”, should always be kept in mind by lawmakers and politicians. If a regulation is not beneficial, then it is almost surely beneficial to get rid of the regulation. Some great Georgians endorsed this principle, like Kakha Bendukidze, who is widely praised for having erased many...
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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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Sep
24

Azerbaijan Economy and the Oil Prices: a Blessing in Disguise?

International crude oil prices, which have hovered at $110 per barrel for the last three and a half years, started a sudden and abrupt downfall in August 2014, reaching a $50 per barrel mark in just five months. More than a year after the event, it looks like the oil price of $50 per barrel is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. BLAME THE TECHNOLOGY The primary reason behind the drop was undoubtedly the technological advances in shale oil and gas extraction in the United States – a boom so big, that the US is now poised to become a net ene...
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Jun
29

Why Armenia Is Not (Yet) Ukraine?

  Yerevan is presently rife with protest. Dubbed “Electric Yerevan,” the protests are aptly named considering that they began as a result of Armenia’s government succumbing to demands by the country’s electricity distribution monopoly (Electric Network of Armenia (ENA)) to raise regulated tariffs by 16.7% as of 1 August, 2015. ENA is owned by Inter RAO UES, a Russian energy giant, giving rise to suggestions that Armenian officials are effectively serving Russian interests. Yet, the hike in electricity prices, which the government had initially resis...
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