ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Jun
25

High Wages not Walls

People who decide to leave their country and test their luck elsewhere are usually no random sample of a population. In his 1987 paper “Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants” (American Economic Review 77, pp. 531-553), Harvard Political Scientist George J. Borjas discusses the so-called self-selection of migrants. As of 1987, the standard view among migration economists was that migrants, at least those who came to the United States, belonged to the “upper tails” of the income distributions in their home countries. As income reflects economic per...
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Jun
20

MINDSPACE: a New Way to Influence Behavior through Public Policy

WHEN SUCCESS SPEAKS TOO LOUDLY In November 2015, the National Audit Office of the UK has published a report saying: “The Department for Work and Pensions has successfully introduced automatic enrolment to workplace pensions for large and medium-sized employers.” The National Audit Office found that 58,000 employers have enrolled 5.4 million workers between October 2012 and August 2015. The huge increase in enrolment was due to a small policy change introduced by the UK government in October 2012. The Government switched the default option from one i...
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Jun
19

A Temporary ‘High’? Improvements in Business, Consumer Confidence Should Not Distract Policy-Makers from the Long-Term View

In the year of elections any piece of economic analysis is usually seasoned with a hefty dose of caution. Every analyst is aware of the fact that the incumbents will be too eager to oversell the ‘good’, while the opposition will pound on the ‘bad’. Weary of taking sides in political battles, economists usually switch on their primary defense mechanism: they start relying (heavily) on the annoying “on the one hand”, “on the other hand” kinds of phrases. I am of course referring to Georgia in the year of 2016. What people should keep in mind, however, is t...
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Jun
06

Shame on Europe!

When half a year ago, I predicted in my article “Georgia Exporting Crime” that the visa liberalization would be stalled in the last moment, I was called a grumbler and alarmist. Unfortunately, usually the pessimists get it right. This week, a whole bunch of European politicians, primarily from Germany, expressed their rejection of the visa liberalization for Georgian citizens. As Joachim Hermann, Minster of the Interior of the province of Bavaria, stated bluntly: “I can only advise against visa liberalization with Ukraine, Georgia, and the Kosovo”. ...
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May
23

Georgia’s Revolutions and Economic Development: from 2004 to Present Time

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Georgian nation went through a process of rapid dis-investment and de-industrialization. It was forced to shut down industrial plants, sending scrap metal abroad, and workers into subsistence farming. Hunger has never become an issue thanks to the country’s moderate climate and good soil conditions, yet inequality and associated political pressures rapidly reached catastrophic dimensions, unleashing cycles of violence, undermining the political order and inhibiting prospects of economic growth. *   &nb...
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