ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Jan
24

The Washington Consensus and Georgia

Economics Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz, well-known for sharply criticizing the conventional wisdoms of development economics, once summed up his views in a rhetorical question: “We have felt the pain, when do we get the gain?” Stiglitz wanted to point out that standard development strategies require countries to pay a high price in exchange for the promise of a better future. The price comes in form of harsh poverty for some members of the society, income reduction for many, social strain, and increased inequality. While it is obvious that the “pai...
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Guest — Florian Biermann
True, according to the Ricardo Model, every country has a comparative advantage in something. The way you put it, i.e. Georgia hav... Read More
Friday, 24 January 2014 4:04 PM
Guest — Eric
"Trade liberalization may be beneficial for a country that, unlike Georgia, enters the stage with comparative advantages in variou... Read More
Friday, 24 January 2014 2:02 PM
Guest — RT
An interesting article. Have to re-read and digest.But why are persistent current account deficits "rather unusual" for a low inco... Read More
Friday, 24 January 2014 5:05 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
23

The Educational Choices We Make...

Like many, I like having more choice, but hate making choices. As a result, many of the most important choices in my life, including the choice among alternative partners, have been made for me by … others. A 2010 New York Times article Too Many Choices: A Problem That Can Paralyze describes the findings of an experimental study by Sheena Iyengar, a Columbia Business School professor, which suggests that the problem of choice is indeed much more complicated than the standard textbook “truth” we are teaching ISET economics students. Here is how the experi...
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Guest — Lasha
Just love Introduction. From that convincing example, it is clear that with so many options to choose from, people find it very di... Read More
Monday, 13 January 2014 7:07 PM
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Dec
02

Language and Economics

In the 1930s, the American linguist Benjamin Lee Whorf put forward the hypothesis that people of different mother tongues perceive the world differently. According to linguistic relativity or Whorfianism, both the grammatical structure and the vocabulary of a language influence the way how people think. Proponents of political correctness, aiming to ban the usage of certain words that are considered to be derogatory or discriminatory, ultimately base their ideas on Whorfianism. Saying “little person” instead of “midget” may have an impact on how one thin...
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Guest — RT
I speak that way too. Nevertheless, if you Google "მანქანა მყავს", you will see that some people argue differently.
Monday, 02 December 2013 5:05 PM
Guest — Sandro Ma
“მანქანა მყავს” (I own a car) - that's how Georgians speak. It can be explained why is that so. A car being a susbtitution to a ho... Read More
Monday, 02 December 2013 4:04 PM
Guest — RT
That norm seems to be changing. I heard once a student of mine claiming to never (!) have heard "მანქანა მყავს"
Monday, 02 December 2013 3:03 PM
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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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Oct
14

The University of Life

When economists speak about education and human capital, they usually mean formal education. It is provided in schools and universities by formally qualified teachers. These are imparting knowledge that is laid down in curricula, and the result of the learning process is testified by certificates and diplomas conferred to those students who passed exams. Hence economists usually measure the availability of human capital in a society by the average number of years citizens attended schools and universities. Yet is formal education the only source of human...
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Guest — Lasha Nikolaishvili
I agree with Florian Biermann. MOOCs leaves no space for only “bad lecturers.” In “bad lecturers” I mean those who enters in the c... Read More
Wednesday, 16 October 2013 2:02 PM
Guest — Florian Biermann
All of the courses at coursera.org come with final exams and preliminary quizzes. These tests have always the multiple choice form... Read More
Thursday, 17 October 2013 5:05 PM
Guest — Lasha Nikolaishvili
In that sense I agree with you Eric. To extent what Florian already mentioned, MOOCs are like books, but I would say "improved boo... Read More
Friday, 18 October 2013 4:04 PM
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