ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Mar
30

Does it Make Sense to Subsidize Smallholder Georgian Agriculture, and if so How?

While Georgia never faced anything like a wartime food crisis, the agricultural policies implemented by the Georgian Dream coalition government in 2013-2015 did not lack in ambition, seeking to make up for more than a decade of “active neglect” of Georgia’s smallholder agriculture by the Saakashvili administration. In this piece, we take a critical look at one of the first government initiatives, the Agricultural Card Program, introduced in February 2013.  According to the then Minister of Agriculture David Kirvalidze, the program aimed to “revive G...
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Recent Comments
Guest — Humph Abbott
Hi Eric and team. What evidence do you have to justify the assumption implicit in your first and second charts and supporting text... Read More
Monday, 30 March 2015 7:07 PM
Guest — Eric Livny
Thanks for the question, Humph! We don't have any evidence and, in fact, are not claiming that "the growth in cultivated areas and... Read More
Tuesday, 31 March 2015 1:01 PM
Guest — Salome
Thank you for your question. Majority of respondents claimed increase in output and sown areas, but you would probably agree, that... Read More
Tuesday, 31 March 2015 2:02 PM
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Feb
20

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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Sep
19

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 — 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 — 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 — 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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Jun
20

Why Care About Informal Employment?

Before answering this question, let us define what economists usually mean with ” informal employment”. There is some confusion with this term, and sometimes it is improperly used as a synonym for tax evasion or illegality. ILO defines informal employment as: employment “consisting of units engaged in the production of goods or services with the primary objective of generating employment and incomes to the persons concerned. These units typically operate at a low level of organisation, with little or no division between labour and capital as factors of p...
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Jun
16

Georgia – A Country Between Poland and Korea

In the first part of this article (available also on the homepage of The Financial), I described some of the adverse incentives resulting from a social welfare system. Then I argued that according to Simon Kuznet’s famous paradigm, increasing inequality is hardly evitable when a country enters a growth trajectory (as Georgia did in 2003), and I reasoned that it is at least an ambivalent (not to say questionable) policy for Georgia, at its current state of development, to fight inequality by social welfare measures. In this vein, the articl...
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Jun
09

Redistribution Versus Growth: Georgia at the Crossroads

One day in my village, I saw our neighbors carrying TV sets, refrigerators, parabolic antennas, and washing machines out of their house. Soon I found out that they were hiding all that stuff from the Social Service Agency (SSA) that was about to check eligibility for social benefits. Later, when I spoke with some other villagers, it turned out that some families had even sold their cows to become eligible for social assistance. “Cows are costly and do not give income on a permanent basis”, they said. Others avoided work contracts because official em...
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Guest — Eric Livny
Here is what we wrote about two years ago on exactly the same subject (http://www.iset.ge/blog/?p=1171):"there are case studies sh... Read More
Monday, 09 June 2014 9:09 AM
Guest — Florian Biermann
Eric, two different economists wrote on the same subject. Of course, they must come to different conclusions -- otherwise, this wo... Read More
Tuesday, 10 June 2014 10:10 AM
Guest — RT
it's probably -- just a bit -- misleading to call Kuznets "a Belorussian economist" :-)
Monday, 09 June 2014 11:11 AM
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