ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus by ISET
Dec
05

When Good Intentions Lead to Bad Outcomes. Tree-Cutting Regulations in Tbilisi

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. Saint Bernard of Clairvaux As economic development progresses, air pollution and the lack of green spaces have become increasingly painful issues for Tbilisi citizens. In our previous blog, Breathing in Tbilisi, we discussed the negative outcomes – in terms of air pollution and tree-cutting – generated by the actions of self-interested developers facing an inert civil society and a local government that is unwilling and/or unable to protect green public spaces. While that is a classic example of market fa...
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Nov
19

Net Metering in Georgia. Getting Ready for the Next Energy Revolution

"We have this handy fusion reactor called the SUN. You don't have to do anything, it just works, shows up every day, produces ridiculous amounts of power." Elon Musk Introduction of Tesla Energy A few weeks ago Elon Musk (CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors and Chairman of SolarCity, among others) presented two new products: solar roof tiles produced by SolarCity, and Tesla’s Powerwall 2, designed to work together to revolutionize the concept of solar PV systems. Energy sector professionals, environmentalists, and renewable energy enthusiasts around the world...
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Nov
05

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

“All the evidence shows that God was actually quite a gambler, and the universe is a great casino, where dice are thrown, and roulette wheels spin on every occasion. Over a large number of bets, the odds even out and we can make predictions; that's why casino owners are so rich. But over a very small number of rolls of the dice, the uncertainty principle is very important” – Stephen Hawking. Casinos, totalizators, and other gambling institutions are very popular in Georgia. According to the study “Gambling in Georgia – Second Report,” conducted by Transp...
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Recent Comments
Eric Livny
I am very glad you managed to survive, Giorgi, and write this very important article! Beyond the three smart policy options you ... Read More
Monday, 07 November 2016 1:01 PM
Giorgi Vashakidze
Hi
Monday, 07 November 2016 6:06 PM
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Oct
03

Breathing in Tbilisi

Tempelhofer Feld is a beloved communal recreation area of Berliners. Tempelhofer Feld is not just a park. It is a park built instead of an airport. In 2008, when the almost century old Tempelhofer airport was closed, the city of Berlin declared the centrally located, 386-hectare (!) open space for public use. Today, the area has a six-kilometer cycling, skating and jogging trail, a 2.5-hectare barbeque area, a dog-walking field covering around four hectares, and an enormous picnic area for visitors – everything we, Tbilisi citizens, can only dream of. Ju...
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Irakli Shalikashvili
I totally agree with the author about Georgian citizens. The majority simply just does not care about the environment they live in... Read More
Tuesday, 13 December 2016 12:12 PM
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May
08

No Price Caps in the Electricity Wholesale Market!

This article is about a highly technical matter. To avoid losing all our readers in the very beginning, let us start with a famous doctrine by Montesquieu: Les lois inutiles affaiblissent les lois nécessaires. This principle, literally meaning “useless laws weaken the necessary laws”, should always be kept in mind by lawmakers and politicians. If a regulation is not beneficial, then it is almost surely beneficial to get rid of the regulation. Some great Georgians endorsed this principle, like Kakha Bendukidze, who is widely praised for having erased many...
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Eric Livny
The article raises many factual questions:What is the level of these price caps and how do it compare to the price electricity gen... Read More
Sunday, 08 May 2016 8:08 AM
Florian Biermann
Regarding your first two questions:(1) As we say in the article, the capacity to export is for technical reasons very low. Therefo... Read More
Sunday, 08 May 2016 8:08 AM
Eric Livny
Florian, The (potential) export price could be a good benchmark to assess the extent to which the cap is binding, reasonable, etc.... Read More
Sunday, 08 May 2016 9:09 AM
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Jun
19

Decriminalize Marijuana?

  According to a recent study, smoking marijuana for many years leads to a severe loss of intelligence: compared with people who did not consume cannabis, the IQ’s of smokers were lower by 13-38 points (Meier et al.: “Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife”, PNAS 109, 2012). Moreover, after a long time of consumption, cognitive abilities and memory do not recover when smoking marijuana is eventually given up.  Recently, decriminalization of marijuana became a hotly discussed topic in Georgia. The opi...
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