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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
03

Pursuing Real Growth: The Importance of This Year’s Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for the Planet and for Us

This year has plagued a number of countries with tremendous natural disasters and extreme weather events. Greece was challenged with extensive fires and South Africa with a shortage of water. As late as November this year, the US was still struggling to tame forest fires. Something is certainly happening with the climate. These problems arise from society only been concerned with growth. The issue is that for far too long we have been assuming that economic growth has no impact on the climate and, more generally, on nature. It is especially concerning th...
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Dec
18

Behavioral Economics of New Year’s Resolutions

“January is always a good month for behavioral economics: Few things illustrate self-control as vividly as New Year's resolutions. February is even better, though, because it lets us study why so many of those resolutions are broken.” Sendhil Mullainathan, Harvard University. It is that time of a year when we take time to reflect upon our flaws and weaknesses to find areas where we can make positive changes for the New Year. In our imagination, there is an old self who we will leave behind on the New Year’s Eve, and we will welcome our new 2018 self, hea...
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Jan
14

How Can We Revitalize the Struggling Georgian Agricultural Sector?

LEFT BEHIND Between 1990 and 1994, the Georgian economy experienced one of the sharpest declines in economic activity in recent history, with GDP per capita falling by more than 70 percent. Since then, however, especially after 2003, it has been growing quite fast, with the Georgian GDP per capita overtaking the 1990 level in 2013. However, the Georgian agricultural sector, in the same period, has been characterized by a quite different trend, as shown in Figure 1. Figure 1. GDP Per Capita and Agriculture Value Added as a Share of GDP During the crisis ...
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Pati Mamardashvili
I think that the capitalizing input vouchers in land values was not a huge problem for Georgia (not comparable with some other cri... Read More
Wednesday, 18 January 2017 5:05 PM
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May
11

Georgia in the Cycle of History

The second of May, 2015, may well go unnoticed by historians of the future; but I am convinced that it marks a watershed not only in Georgia’s recent evolution – but also, maybe, in the history of our times... On the surface of life, this Saturday marked maybe the Saturday when tourists finally returned to Tbilisi. At about 2 p.m. spotted a group of about thirty Dutch tourists assembling near the Marriot Courtyard hotel; and there were two further groups moving slowly down the sidewalks of Leselidze Street. Maintaining the festive note, the converted Lon...
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Guest — mfmsm
1 May was the day that the Georgian Parliament introduced a new provision into the visa and migration legislation of Georgia 'maki... Read More
Saturday, 16 May 2015 10:10 PM
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Nov
25

Economic Reflections in the Kakheti Mountains

Over the last weekend I was invited by an international development bank to run a workshop in the nice Hotel Eden in Kvareli, Kakheti. The topic of the workshop was “Georgia’s economic future”. We started the workshop by discussing the great promise of development economics: “Do the right policy, and you’ll be fine”. Economists like Thorvaldur Gylfason like to show the growth paths of pairs of countries with somewhat similar characteristics, like Mauritius and Madagascar, Singapore and Malaysia, Botswana and Nigeria, and Ireland and Greece. In these pair...
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Guest — Eric Livny
Having just come from Korea, and having observed the Korean economic miracle from close range (thought not at great depth), I can ... Read More
Tuesday, 25 November 2014 4:04 PM
Guest — NP
Very nice! Now, here is a (provocative?) comment about the following statement (and what follows it). "Afterwards, a country has t... Read More
Tuesday, 25 November 2014 4:04 PM
Guest — Adam
I still think there's plenty of room for growth in all sectors in Georgia and I see catch-up growth everywhere I go. There's now a... Read More
Tuesday, 25 November 2014 8:08 PM
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