ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Sep
26

Georgian Farmers Playing Russian Roulette

On August 20, 2015 a strong hailstorm hit Georgia, devastating crops and infrastructure in eastern Kakheti. In Kvareli alone, the hailstorm destroyed about 1,300ha of Saperavi and 1,000ha of Rkatsiteli grapes, affecting more than 500 families. This was only one in a string of natural disasters striking Georgian farmers in recent years. One of the worst calamities occurred in July 2012, when heavy rain, strong winds, hail and floods damaged thousands of hectares of arable land in Kakheti, ripping roofs and destroying vital infrastructure.   Whil...
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Recent Comments
Irakli Kochlamazashvili
Very good piece, indeed! One fact I would like to underline is that (it is mentioned in the blog also), on the one hand, the mini... Read More
Saturday, 26 September 2015 8:08 PM
Guest — SalomeGelashvili
Dear Rati, Thank you for your comment. I agree that all the projects implemented by APMA should be in line with each other in ord... Read More
Monday, 28 September 2015 12:12 PM
Eric Livny
An excellent point, Salome! Both grants and cheap loans provide an opportunity to "nudge" people towards insurance.
Monday, 28 September 2015 12:12 PM
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Jul
06

The Positive Sides of Georgia’s NATO Partnership (Not Membership)

Since the Rose Revolution, pro-Western Georgian politicians strive to lead their country into the apparent safe haven of the NATO defense collective. So far membership seems far off, causing disappointment among many Georgians and affirming those who preferred less integration in the Western geopolitical bloc. The continuing debate as to whether or not Georgia should assume full membership in the alliance may be obfuscating the reality that the present relationship with the alliance is the most ideal for Georgia.  It allows for a nearly unrestricted...
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Guest — Levan Pavlenishvili
One easy to make mistake in the article is that Georgia started its NATO aspirations after the Rose Revolution. Georgian announced... Read More
Friday, 10 July 2015 12:12 PM
Guest — Eric Livny
I agree with what you say in the first two paragraphs, Levan, but not with the last one. Whether NATO membership will be good for ... Read More
Friday, 10 July 2015 12:12 PM
Guest — Levan Pavlenishvili
Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region are already behind the iron curtain, but I think that NATO membership of Georgia (under its interna... Read More
Friday, 10 July 2015 4:04 PM
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Jun
26

The Brutal Revolution

  When offered the ISET director job back in March 2007, I did not think twice. Everything I’ve read about Georgia until then was incredibly positive. Livable, hospitable, beautiful, corruption free, etc. etc. The latter part sounded particularly promising given that during my last days in Moscow (I lived and worked in Moscow from 1993 till 2007) I had my brand new BMW motorbike stolen in broad daylight by a local police officer (sic!) who knew that I am about to leave the country and probably thought that there would be no use for motorbikes on Geo...
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Guest — Florian Biermann
I am surprised about this article. Based on its title, I thought this would be a piece slamming the reforms of the old government.... Read More
Tuesday, 14 July 2015 6:06 PM
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Jun
08

The Ukrainian Malaise: Will Georgians Save the Day?

When Georgia ran into a conflict with its northern neighbor in 2008, it experienced considerable solidarity on part of its main Western ally. The United States supplied military transporters to fly back Georgian troops from Afghanistan, which was correctly understood by the Russians as a warning that the US would not allow Georgia to fall. While the Russians had already taken Gori, Condoleeza Rice and Michail Saakashvili held a joint press conference in Tbilisi, just 80 km away. Surprised by the American determination to defend small Georgia, the Russian...
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Guest — Eric Livny
I don't think the Western treatment was all that different. There were no (and will not be) NATO boots on the ground in either Geo... Read More
Monday, 08 June 2015 9:09 AM
Guest — Lasha Lanchava
It reads like a post-mortem justification of what you call a pragmatic approach (And I know you are doing it out of curiosity, wit... Read More
Monday, 08 June 2015 10:10 AM
Guest — Megiddo
Thanks for your comment, Lasha. Four remarks:(1) Unfortunately, there is strong evidence that it is impossible to solve certain is... Read More
Monday, 08 June 2015 10:10 PM
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Jun
01

Is Small (And Medium) All That Beautiful?

  Most development practitioners subscribe to the view that vibrant small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) are crucial for the health of a country’s economy. The SME sector is crucial, the argument goes, because it creates employment and serves as a hotbed of entrepreneurial talent. Additionally, SMEs are often seen as a source of new, fast growing industries, contributing to a price-reducing and quality-improving competition with large and old firms that tend to dominate markets in small countries such as Georgia. For example, a 2011 report prepa...
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Guest — Simon Appleby
Rezo Vashakidze's statement about 50% of the population being smallholder farmers is out of date. According to the last census, on... Read More
Monday, 01 June 2015 9:09 AM
Guest — Eric Livny
The point I was trying to make in this article – but perhaps failed – is NOT that Georgia does not need SMEs. My point is that the... Read More
Monday, 01 June 2015 12:12 PM
Guest — Angela Prigozhina
1. I do agree that distribution of subsidies to agriculture subsistence farmers has nothing to do with productivity growth and job... Read More
Monday, 01 June 2015 2:02 PM
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Apr
27

The US and Georgia: Finding the Common Denominator

At ISET we teach graduate economics, which uses the mathematical language to analyze economic behavior (“microeconomics”) and macroeconomic systems. Being based in Tbilisi, we heavily depend on “upstream” Georgian educational institutions, such as schools and undergraduate departments at TSU and elsewhere. Unfortunately, the level of quantitative literacy among the Georgian youth leaves much to be desired, which says something about the quality of educational programs they go through before arriving to ISET. The vast majority of our future students come ...
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Guest — mfmsm
The challenge is very interesting. It is due to the arrogance of systems that this has come about.
Tuesday, 28 April 2015 8:08 AM
Guest — megiddo02
This article touches on a painful issue. Georgians prefer to study law, international relations, psychology, or humanities -- all ... Read More
Tuesday, 28 April 2015 11:11 PM
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