ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Dec
24

Holiday Gifts Are Extremely Inefficient, So Why Do We Bother?

Today and tomorrow over a third of the world’s population (around 2 billion people) will be celebrating Christmas1. Traditionally, the holiday season will inevitably feature an exchange of gifts. The sums spent on Christmas gift-giving are huge! For example, in 2018 the expected spending on Christmas gifts in the United States is around 885 USD per person2 - this is about 2.8% of what someone in the middle of income distribution earns per year. If we work backwards from these figures and assume that a similar share of an average family’s income is devote...
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Guest — EricLivny
A very nice piece, Yasya! From now on, dont expect any cash from me!
Friday, 11 January 2019 4:04 PM
Guest — Yasya
Thanks, Eric! Of course! In the old days books were considered the best gifts to give to friends and family. I dont know why this... Read More
Monday, 14 January 2019 7:07 AM
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Dec
14

Are Giorgi and Mariam More Employable than Arthur and Zeynab?

  It all started with a simple exercise for my Master’s project in which I tried to understand the underlying causes of the observed wage gap between ethnic Georgians and ethnic minorities in the country. After more than a decade, a reputable international journal has published a paper reporting on the experimental evidence my colleagues and I collected and analyzed on labor market outcomes for ethnic minority and female citizens of Georgia. Back in 2008, using the Integrated Household Survey collected by the statistics office of Georgia for 2007 an...
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Nov
20

Money Can’t Buy Happiness. Or Can It? A Case Study from Yerevan

I have been living away from Yerevan for four years. Over these years, every time I visited my city, I noticed more and more new (and fancy) cafes. Over time, I also noticed that café visits seemed to grow in numbers and I started wondering whether it was just my impression or the reality. I have been particularly puzzled by the paradoxical nature of the fact that people always complain about their wages and living standards, yet they do not mind spending money in cafés. Wouldn’t they be better off by saving money and use it to improve their long-term li...
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Guest — Hovakim
Good job Laura, thanks for an interesting study.
Tuesday, 20 November 2018 2:02 PM
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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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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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May
29

Higher Equality for Higher Growth

Back in 12th century, one of the greatest Georgians, Shota Rustaveli, was writing about equal rights for men and women in his poem. Do we share his ideas today? The Georgian constitution has a guarantee of gender equality in the country. Accordingly, men and woman have equal rights to land ownership, and the right to inherit land is same for both sexes. However, in Georgia, as in many developing countries, land ownership issues are very much influenced by cultural values. Georgian traditions make it less likely that land will be inherited by the daughter...
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