ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Feb
10

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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Jan
17

No Smart Farmers in Georgia

When I think about the lack of human capital in Georgian agriculture, I am reminded of the 1997 Georgian movie “The Turtle Doves of Paradise”, directed by Goderdzi Chokheli. In a Soviet village, an ex-priest decides to teach basic knowledge to old peasants. He wants them to learn to read, write, and elementary calculations skills. The movie addresses a problem that, fortunately, has been completely eradicated in the last decades. Nowadays, virtually all people living in Georgian villages are able to read and write (and probably also to multiply, subtract...
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Guest — Eric
Great comment, Maka! Stereotypes are an important part of the story. Of course, the agricultural sector has to become much more ca... Read More
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 12:12 PM
Guest — makachitanava
"As a result, there are no incentives for young people to pick up a career in agriculture, further impeding the development of the... Read More
Monday, 20 January 2014 3:03 PM
Guest — Robizon
Very interesting point. Thank you Maka.
Tuesday, 21 January 2014 10:10 AM
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Dec
09

The Need for Strategic Research

When a country engages in scientific research, the fruits are harvested by the whole of humanity. Fundamental research, generating knowledge without direct applications but needed for developing applications, is published in international scientific journals open to everybody. A society can exploit this knowledge without having to pay royalties or patent fees, and, most importantly, without investing in its own research facilities. Yet even the results of applied research can hardly be monopolized. The economic fortunes of some Asian countries, in partic...
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Guest — RT
More on EMBRAPA http://www.economist.com/node/16886442
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 8:08 PM
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Nov
25

Rural Unemployment Through Productivity Gains

There are many possibilities how to increase the productivity of the Georgian agricultural sector. Experts suggest upgrading knowledge and technologies, promoting the collaboration among farmers, and coping with the land fragmentation problem, to name just a few of the ideas circulating in the debate. The right policy measures may indeed be successful to lift up the productivity, yet the unwanted consequence of a productivity increase may be even higher unemployment among the rural population. In particular, people who are currently underemployed are at ...
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Guest — Florian
It is difficult to directly estimate the number of people who will be laid off due to the productivity gains. If in future we will... Read More
Monday, 25 November 2013 8:08 AM
Guest — Eric Livny
I have many questions related to this article. The first one that comes to mind is about the sources of productivity gains. You se... Read More
Monday, 25 November 2013 8:08 AM
Guest — Florian Biermann
Hi Daan,It is not clear whether future agriculture will be done by the same families that work in the current smallholder agricult... Read More
Monday, 25 November 2013 10:10 AM
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Nov
22

Like Teacher, Like Son

Many of us have been lucky to be taught by great teachers, teachers who did not just teach, but inspired and brought out the best in us. Indeed, it is hard to overestimate the impact (positive and negative) of teachers on the children’s minds, their career prospects and aspirations. Understandably, such impact is strongest in weaker social environments where THE teacher is often a beacon of light (and enlightenment), a ‘wailing wall’ of sorts, a leading moral and intellectual authority. Despite that being so, the second half of the 20th century has seen ...
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Guest — Eric Livny
Exactly my point, Simon, thanks for making it even more emphatically. I've had a chance to observe a similar program in Senegal wh... Read More
Friday, 22 November 2013 1:01 PM
Guest — Eric Livny
I could not agree more, G.T.
Friday, 22 November 2013 3:03 PM
Guest — G.T.
Next to that wonderful project, Government of Georgia could also substitute military service for serving as teacher in rural areas... Read More
Friday, 22 November 2013 2:02 PM
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Nov
15

Troubles to Cooperate in Georgian Agriculture

Georgian agriculture was more developed in Soviet times as it is today. Despite great overall technological progress almost everywhere in the last 20 years, Georgia moved backward when it comes to agriculture. In the year 1990, at the end of the Soviet Union, the number of cattle exceeded 4 million, while today it is just a little more than 1 million. In the Soviet Union, Georgia was a main producer of tea, citrus fruits, deciduous trees, and vine. According to the Rural Poverty Portal, after the collapse of the Soviet Union the output of some of these g...
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Guest — Juan Echanove
Baselines and studies about farmers' cooperation in GeorgiaIn preparation of the ENPARD, the EU, in collaboration with FAO, produc... Read More
Friday, 15 November 2013 12:12 PM
Guest — Simon Appleby
You make a good point about very small co-operative ventures based on blood relatives as members. In my experience these are succe... Read More
Friday, 15 November 2013 4:04 PM
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