ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.

Georgia’s 2018 Presidential Election by Numbers

On 28 November, the Georgian Central Election Commission (CEC) will hold the second round of the very last direct presidential election in Georgia before the constitutional pivot to indirect elections. This is the last stage of a political reform aiming at replacing the presidential political arrangement with the parliamentary system. The president’s powers in the new system will be extremely limited and largely symbolic.1 Nevertheless, political parties are considering the presidential elections of 2018 to be a rehearsal for the more influential parliam...
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Georgian and Armenian “Deplorables” and "Desperados" Taking It to the Streets

Georgian and Armenian ruling parties have been until recently basking in the glory of high GDP growth rates. Armenia’s stellar growth performance of 7.5% in 2017 and Georgia’s respectable 5% are, indeed, worthy of praise. However, do these figures really matter for the objective well-being of the majority of Georgians and Armenians? Second, how does economic growth, as measured by GDP, affect people’s subjective perception of happiness? Third, what does it do to crime rates and people’s appetite for political representation, social justice and fairness? ...
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Eric Livny
Ani, I am sure you are a better judge of the Armenian people. From what Ive read, however, there have been quite a number of recen... Read More
Thursday, 21 June 2018 8:08 AM
Guest — Ani
It is interesting to mention about the little degree of patience of Armenians for their rulers, while they could tolerate the same... Read More
Wednesday, 20 June 2018 8:08 PM
Eric Livny
Could not agree more, Simon! I would only add that decent schooling and improved socialization starting from an early age, well be... Read More
Thursday, 21 June 2018 8:08 AM
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Education for the Poor

Worldwide, cash transfer programs are used to fight poverty. Developing countries typically spend between 1% and 2% of GDP on cash transfers (“Cash Transfers: a Literature Review”, DFID Policy Division, 2011). International donors also invest substantially into such programs. The rationale for cash transfers goes beyond relieving short-run poverty. In their 2011 book Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty, eminent development economists Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo explain the approach as follows: People are poor bec...
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Guest — Helene Ryding
Economists tend to think that all money is the same. If you are poor, then you simply don't have enough, and are forced constantl... Read More
Friday, 20 February 2015 7:07 PM
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Pride and Prejudice in Georgian Food Consumption

GEORGIAN “SUPRAS” AND POVERTY Hospitality is one of the most prized aspects of the Georgian culture. Welcoming (literal translation: "respecting") guests is a matter of great pride for any family. My mother grew up in a small Imeretian village, and as she tells me, the kids of the family were not allowed to eat until the guests were fully "respected", i.e. properly fed. Even the poorest household in the village would go out of its way (and income) to impress its guests with a cornucopia of local delicacies, meats, veggies, and homemade wine. To this day,...
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Guest — Zurab Garakanidze
'...every third household reports difficulties in access to food (in contrast with every 5th urban household)' ----------- It is n... Read More
Monday, 06 October 2014 5:05 AM
Guest — Nino Doghonadze
Dear Zurab, of course, your point is legitimate for any extensive research on this topic. In this short article the main issue was... Read More
Saturday, 11 October 2014 2:02 PM
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The Puzzle of Poverty and Wages in Georgia

POVERTY PERSISTING… Any Georgian growing up in the “dark” 1990s (a literally dark, and rather gloomy period in the recent history of our country) would remember the canned milk powder distributed, together with some other goodies, to families with children aged below 5. These black and white cans were often used as flower pots in many of these families… Being a kid from that dark age, one author of this blog was surprised to discover that, according to the World Bank’s poverty estimations, Georgia is doing worse today than it did then...
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Guest — Eric Livny
Just to get people to work would be a major achievement. When I see my 30 y.o. neighbor (former rugby player) watching TV all day ... Read More
Friday, 19 September 2014 2:02 PM
Guest — Florian Biermann
Interesting article. Rising poverty is not unusual when a country develops (Kuznets Curve). The problematic incentives set by soci... Read More
Friday, 19 September 2014 12:12 PM
Guest — Aaron Erlich (@aserlich)
I think what the studies of worker programs in Western context miss in a place like Georgia is that so many folks have been unempl... Read More
Friday, 19 September 2014 2:02 PM
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