ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus by ISET
Nov
07

“Friendship Bridge” – For or Against Gravitation?

The official visit of the Armenian President last week was concluded by a splashy announcement that the building of the “Friendship Bridge,” a new infrastructure project approved by the Georgian and Armenian Governments in late 2014, will start construction in 2017, and will be completed in under two years. The Georgian Prime Minister and the Armenian President have reportedly discussed a range of other opportunities to deepen economic and trade relationship between the two countries and support business community engagement in this process. This excitem...
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Oct
15

The New Silk Road Chain is Only as Strong as Its Weakest Link

Speaking at the opening of the Tbilisi Silk Road Forum, Georgia’s new Minister of Foreign Affairs Giorgi Kvirikashvili evoked electric circuitry as a metaphor to describe the future of rail and road connections between Europe and Asia. A graduate of the prestigious math and physics Komarov School, Kvirikashvili explained that a sequential circuit – a simple chain – crucially depends on each and every one of its links. A parallel circuit, on the other hand, allows to redirect electricity flows (or cargo and passengers) through alternative routes.  Th...
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Dec
12

Traffic Traumas

Recently, one of the authors of this article was crossing a street with a crowd of people at green pedestrian light close to Marjanishvili metro station, when a Mercedes was accelerating and heading towards the people, ignoring the red light, making the crowd splash in all directions. A police car was standing nearby, doing nothing. Walking and driving in Tbilisi is usually dangerous and stressful. When walking around, pedestrians must continuously monitor the cars in their vicinity, even when walking on the sidewalks. The task of avoiding to be hit by c...
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Recent Comments
Guest — TTT
Well,to my knowledge we already have fines for both Pedestrians and Car Drivers and Cameras as well; The problem is enforcement of... Read More
Friday, 12 December 2014 2:02 PM
Guest — Nino
In fact, there has also been fines for pedestrians in Georgia and it was enforced in the years 2006-2007. However, for some reason... Read More
Friday, 12 December 2014 5:05 PM
Guest — Eric Livny
Thank you for your comment, Nino! Publicly shaming reckless drivers would be an excellent component of the overall policy solution... Read More
Saturday, 13 December 2014 11:11 AM
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Sep
05

Kazbegi Rooms: with a View to Improvement of Regional Development Policies

When planning a debate about the impact of the new Rooms hotel on the local community in Kazbegi we expected it to be a mixed bag. A colleague who visited Kazbegi Rooms on a private reconnaissance mission told us how much he enjoyed his stay, but added: “for some reason, the relationship between the hotel and the villagers is best described as complex”. As economists, we assumed that Rooms would be a major employer of locals and so the only issue could be competition for tourists between the hotel and the local bed & breakfast providers. And as is of...
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Guest — AP
Great piece!
Friday, 05 September 2014 3:03 PM
Guest — Hans Gutbrod
great piece, Eric. Hopefully lessons will be learned...
Friday, 05 September 2014 4:04 PM
Guest — William Dunbar
Nice piece, but Kazbegi is on the Tergi (Terek), not the Aragvi
Friday, 05 September 2014 5:05 PM
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Mar
21

The Crisis in Ukraine and the Georgian Economy

When Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovich decided not to sign the association agreement with the European Union and instead opted for a Russian package of long-term economic support, many Ukrainians perceived this not to be a purely economic decision.  Rather, they feared this to be a renunciation of Western cultural and political values, and – to put it mildly – were not happy about this development. The Russian political system, characterized by a prepotent president, constrained civil rights, and a government controlling important parts of the e...
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Oct
19

Assessing the Impact of Development Projects - Looking for a Black Cat in a Dark Room and Hoping that the Cat is There?

Do development projects reach their stated objectives, such as reducing poverty, improving skills, creating jobs, etc.? This turns out to be a complicated question about project impact that a simple before-and-after measurement would not help answering. Why? The answer is also complicated, of course, but here are two points to consider: First, when a country goes through a rapid modernization process, as is arguably the case in Georgia, most development indicators improve over time regardless of specific donor interventions. Second, even if we observe a...
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