ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.

Georgian Churchkhelas: Thinking Out of the Traditional Box

These are Georgian churchkhelas, a kind of national candy made from a string of walnut halves dipped in grape juice thickened with flour (Tatara or Phelamushi), and dried in the sun. There are essentially 2-3 kinds of Churchkhela. Somebody may be better in making them, somebody worse, but all in all, it is the same stuff sold all over Georgia. These are the Turkish analogs. If you have been to Istanbul’s Spice Bazaar, you will know firsthand that there is a much greater variety – both in terms of nuts and the fruit one uses to make the “sauce”. Also the ...
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Guest — RT This is a chain of stores in the U.S. that sell all kind of hand-crafted items. E.g. coasters... Read More
Friday, 25 April 2014 6:06 PM
Guest — RT
Turkey's economy made a sharp jump after the 2001 crisis. Are you implying that Turkish sujuks did not exist until then?
Sunday, 04 May 2014 10:10 PM
Guest — Lasha
What you leave out of consideration is perhaps a demand side. In countries with high consumer confidence and strong demand (US, Ja... Read More
Thursday, 01 May 2014 1:01 PM
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Agriculture and Rural Development in Georgia: A Research Agenda

After many years on the back burner of policy discussion in Georgia, issues related to agriculture and rural development now seem to be at the forefront of debate. And for good reason, as these issues are incredibly complex and have important implications, not only for those residing in rural areas but also for those purchasing agricultural products in towns and cities. Yet we still have much to learn about agriculture and rural development in Georgia and many questions remain, especially from a policy perspective. Are vouchers for those working in the a...
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The Ethics of Empty Stomachs

At the end of Act 2 of Bertolt Brecht’s Three-Penny-Opera, the proletarian petty criminal Macheath and his prostitute Jenny reply to the bourgeois representatives of the establishment urging them to uphold moral standards: “First comes a full stomach, then comes ethics!” This aphorism echoes the widely held contention that ethical behavior is a privilege of those who have satisfied their material needs. How can one expect somebody who is fighting for survival to be decent and honorable? Indeed, when civilization broke down during wars and disasters, huma...
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Guest — Zahra
History of growth associated with development and switch from agriculture to industry and then to service sector. As the more inco... Read More
Monday, 21 April 2014 7:07 PM
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"Inclusive Growth" Policies: Roads Paved with Good Intentions

The recently published government strategy “GEORGIA 2020” aims “to ensure that the majority of Georgia’s population benefits from economic growth”. The natural million-dollar question, however, is how this “inclusive growth” objective could be achieved in reality. In other words, how to make sure that the economy grows while creating jobs and business opportunities for the poor. Before delving into this “how” question, let’s state the obvious trade-off: efforts to achieve inclusivity by means of aggressive income redistribution (e.g. increased social ben...
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Guest — Florian Biermann
Governments are generally bad entrepreneurs. If the government refrains from pushing large-scale economic projects with public mon... Read More
Tuesday, 18 March 2014 12:12 AM
Guest — Philippe
The underlying issue raised by this post is actually the capacity to co-ordinate different logics of intervention: the economic an... Read More
Tuesday, 18 March 2014 2:02 PM
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Tiger in the Caucasus?

On the 14th of February, the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia published the draft version of the Socio-economic Development Strategy 2020 (SDS). This comprehensive document identifies the main socio-economic challenges Georgia will be facing in the next years and presents a strategy how to cope with them. The overall goal is to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth until the end of this decade. The spirit of the document very much reflects the principles of the new government. There is no belief in the self-regulatory power o...
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Guest — vato
While the so called vision 2020 emphasizes the need for export orientation it does not tackle the issue on how shall Georgian busi... Read More
Monday, 03 March 2014 2:02 PM
Guest — Ia
More optimistic view: If South Caucasus tiger does not exist (any more) we need to think up ways how to built appropriate "zoo" f... Read More
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 1:01 AM
Guest — Eric
Tigers are long extinct in the South Caucasus... Only their paper version (wrapped in tiger skin) may be found in bookstores...
Tuesday, 04 March 2014 12:12 AM
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Why Nations Fail

Over the winter holidays, I had the leisure to read the book “Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty” by MIT economist Daron Acemoglu and Harvard political scientist James A. Robinson (Crown Business 2012, 544 pages, Hardcover $20.00). Both authors are very eminent – one would not be surprised if Acemoglu, a Turkish-born Armenian and the most frequently cited contemporary economist, would receive the Nobel Prize in economics somewhere down the road. After reading the book, I was rather disappointed, because it appeared to me as i...
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Guest — NP
Very interesting. One might argue that exclusion is now a characteristic increasingly shared not only by the Chinese communist mod... Read More
Monday, 10 February 2014 10:10 AM
Guest — LN
The idea of the theory discussed in the blog makes me optimistic too. Although, I would not agree with the author that Saakashvili... Read More
Monday, 10 February 2014 7:07 PM
Guest — Eric
Thanks for this post, Florian!Exclusive institutions, that do not allow for "create destruction" and stifle productivity and innov... Read More
Monday, 10 February 2014 9:09 PM
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