ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Nov
27

Georgia’s 2018 Presidential Election by Numbers

On 28 November, the Georgian Central Election Commission (CEC) will hold the second round of the very last direct presidential election in Georgia before the constitutional pivot to indirect elections. This is the last stage of a political reform aiming at replacing the presidential political arrangement with the parliamentary system. The president’s powers in the new system will be extremely limited and largely symbolic.1 Nevertheless, political parties are considering the presidential elections of 2018 to be a rehearsal for the more influential parliam...
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Oct
15

Georgia’s New Gold Rush: Or the Economic Prospects of Export of Medical Marijuana

  This article continues the theme of ISET Economist blog “Decriminalize Marijuana?” written by my colleague Saba Devdariani in June 2015, where he described the philosophical aspects related to marijuana state regulations and medical consequences of its consumption. RECENT CHANGES IN LEGISLATION Three years after the blog was published, regulation of cannabis became the hottest topic of discussion in the social-political life of Georgia. On July 30th 2018, the Constitutional Court de jure legalized personal consumption of marijuana by declaring tha...
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Jul
02

Will Georgia Ever Get to the World Cup?

“…….. Georgia clearly has potential. The country is small (5 million people), and horribly poor (even today, average income is below $4,000 per year). If Georgians could just become as rich as Croatia, they too could start beating England at Wembley.” – Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski, Soccernomics, (2006, p.287) “Football was born in England, grew to Brazil and died in Georgia” – a well-known joke about Georgian football. This summer, Russia is again at the epicenter of the world, but this time for hosting the 21st FIFA World Cup football tourna...
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Apr
01

The FitCoin Revolution!

  ◊ ◊ ◊ Once dubbed Georgia's Abu Ghraib, Gldani Prison #8 has gone through a substantial makeover since its darkest hours in September 2012. The entire staff was replaced or retrained during 2013, swiftly and effectively ending human right violations. The following year, the prison won a prestigious award as Georgia’s best correctional facility. In 2015, about 180ha in the prison’s backyard became home to Bitfury, an international bitcoin industry pioneer. The company invested close to $100mln in its Gldani data center, placing the prison at the ep...
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Mar
12

Does Georgia Have One of the Largest Shadow Economies in the World?

In January 2018, an IMF Working Paper published new results on the shadow economy situation for 158 countries from 1991 to 2015. According to Medina and Schneider (2018), the shadow economy in Georgia during that period constituted, on average, 64.9% of GDP - the highest indicator in the world! In 2015 (the last year available), things were slightly better for Georgia, with the share of shadow economy standing at 53%. Still, our country was “outshone” only by Zimbabwe (67%) and Haiti (56%) in the world rankings. To add insult to injury, Georgia’s results...
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