ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
May
12

Is Abkhazia Consuming Too Much? – March 2018 Electricity Market Review

In March 2018, Georgian power plants generated 997 mln. KWh of electricity (+35% compared to March 2017, and + 7% compared to February 2018). Nearly a quarter (24 %) of this electricity was produced by the Enguri and Vardnili hydropower plants, which produced 188 mln. kWh and 49 mln. kWh, respectively. Consumption of electricity on the local market was 1,116 mln. kWh (+9% compared to March 2017, and +5% compared to February 2018). Around 19% of this electricity was consumed by Abkhazia (207 mln. kWh). The Enguri and Vardnili HPPs represent nearly the onl...
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Apr
16

A Good February for Electricity Generation: Time for Reflection, After Last Year’s Worries

  In February 2017, Georgia experienced the largest gap between generation and consumption in the last decade. This was followed by an even greater gap in March 2017. The size of those gaps, and the fact that the historical trend was suggesting an increase in the electricity gap, prompted policy proposals emphasizing the need to encourage investments in power generation. The goal of such policies would be to avoid future energy security challenges due to electricity shortages and fast increasing electricity prices. Most of the strategies suggested s...
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Mar
26

On Pepsi, McDonald’s and the Promised Land

Back in 1991, I attended a big “Does Socialism Have a Future?” conference hosted by my alma mater, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The session I remember most vividly featured a Hungarian dissident, a poet, ridiculing ineffective communist propaganda. “Communists”, he told a sympathetic audience, “tried to convince us that jeans can cause impotence in young males, and that Coca Cola is bad for people’s health”. At this point, a trembling female voice could be heard in the back of the conference hall: “But Coca Cola is bad for people’s health! ◊ ◊ ◊ ...
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Mar
05

What Georgia Can Teach Sweden about Energy Efficiency

I believe we all are bound by the notion that technology is the thing. We might be convinced it’s a sign of progress. Those very clever engineers have finally saved humanity, not just by envisioning what will save the masses from wasting their minutes and seconds, but they also help to propel all sorts of time-saving devices. There are, of course, good reasons to argue for how important technological advances are. They can be used as a means of promoting youth employment, or to assist an individual suffering from mobility concerns with vacuum cleaning. O...
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Feb
20

Price and Prejudice on the Georgian Market for Cigarettes

Benjamin Franklin once said, “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Yet we have a tax that could prevent hundreds of millions of premature deaths. It is time to use it more effectively. -Prabhat Jha It is a truth universally acknowledged, that cigarettes are bad for human health. Yet, whenever the government tries to regulate consumption of cigarettes by increasing their price, it gets a very mixed reaction from the public. Some people (mostly non-smokers) welcome these policies, while others accuse the government of ...
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Oct
19

ISET Consumer Confidence: Anticipation Beats Realization

The CCI, which is computed by ISET-PI on a monthly basis, monitors how Georgians feel about their personal financial situations and the economic well-being of the whole country. Roughly speaking, the index is computed as the difference between the frequencies of positive and negative answers to 12 questions covering the present and expected economic situations of the households surveyed, as well as general economic parameters of the country, such as inflation and unemployment. It ranges from −100, a result that would follow if all respondents answered al...
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