ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus by ISET
Dec
03

The Textile Industry Stopping by in Georgia

My dad used to tell me stories about the exciting period when the Soviet Union’s economy started faltering and public resources were suddenly up for grabs in the chaos capitalism that emerged. While this period is usually associated with the appearance of crafty oligarchs, in Georgia also less wily businessmen could exploit the circumstances, among them many Turks. As the American journal The Tennessean wrote in 1977: “Soviet blue jeans may look like jeans, but that doesn't mean they are… One of the country's most exasperating problems is trying to satis...
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Irakli Shalikashvili
I also heard stories from my grandparents about the greatness of USSR, and they all were sad about the destruction of the system –... Read More
Tuesday, 13 December 2016 11:11 AM
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Nov
12

Thinking Forward through the Past

Under the Soviet system, farmers worked under strong central control; everyone knew what to do. Important economic decisions were not left to the market, or decided by self-interested individuals. Instead, the government, which owned or controlled much of the economy’s resources, decided what, when and how to produce. Along with providing necessary inputs, the state ensured that farmers had access to markets for their goods. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, state-provided coordination was abolished. The newly shaped market system brought a lot of ...
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Irakli Shalikashvili
It is very interesting to discuss alternative systems for Georgian farmers, but at the same time the Soviet Union left-overs in ag... Read More
Tuesday, 13 December 2016 11:11 AM
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Oct
24

The Shortest Road to Strawberry Field Isn’t Always the Sweetest, or Quickest

Nino Kvirkvelia and her husband Irakli Todua are not exactly your typical Georgian smallholders. Both spouses are well-educated (both hold economics and business degrees from reputable Georgian institutions). More importantly in the context of Georgian agriculture, the couple owns 28(!) hectare of arable land in Georgia’s horticultural heaven, Samegrelo, best known for its hazelnuts. This is a fantastic amount considering that the average size of agricultural plots in Georgia is only slightly above 1ha. A natural born entrepreneur, Irakli was among the f...
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Oct
22

Back to the Future: Will an Old Farming Practice Provide a Market Niche for Georgian Farmers?

Back in ancient times, the moon was the center of everybody’s attention. People worshipped the moon and believed that it had mystical powers. Since then, the lunar effect on human mood and behavior has been an issue for psychological and astrological research. Surprisingly, many economic papers are also concerned about the influence of the lunar phases on stock returns. Yuan et al. (2006) found that stock returns (defined as the change in the value of a stock market index) are higher during the new moon period than during the full moon period. This ...
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Sep
12

To Bee or not to Bee?

  The economic significance of bees extends far beyond honey production. As the National Resource Defense Council writes in 2011 (“Why We Need Bees: Nature’s Tiny Workers Put Food on Our Tables”), the value of the honey that bees produced in the US in that year amounted to 150 million dollars, while the value of the harvested crops that were pollinated by bees was 15 billion dollars, i.e., greater by a factor of 100! Having bees around is not primarily beneficial for the beekeepers, but even more for anyone else who grows crops, fruits, or vegetable...
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Mar
10

Khachapuri Index as a Predictor of Structural Changes in the Economy

  In February,  the average cost of cooking one standard Imeretian Khachapuri fell to 3.29GEL, which is 3.4% lower month-on-month (compared to January 2015), and 4.8% lower year-on-year (compared to February 2014). The main ingredient of Khachapuri is Imeretian cheese, and, naturally, its price is the main driver of ISET’s Khachapuri Index. Over the years, we have been observing a sharp upward movement in the price of cheese from July till January, and an equally sharp downward movement from February till June.  These seasonal price dynami...
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Recent Comments
Guest — Simon Appleby
The seasonality of Georgian dairy herd calving has not so much to do with artificial insemination. One can manipulate calving seas... Read More
Tuesday, 10 March 2015 6:06 PM
Guest — Eric Livny
Simon, who am I to argue with a veterinary doctor :-) What I think we can learn from flatter cheese price dynamics is that somethi... Read More
Tuesday, 10 March 2015 6:06 PM
Guest — Simon Appleby
I would love to say that these improvements are leading to a lower cheese price, but two month's data is perhaps just an anomaly. ... Read More
Wednesday, 11 March 2015 8:08 AM
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