ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus by ISET
May
15

Best Pedagogy for Georgia!

  Given Georgia’s dysfunctional educational sector, it is impressive how many Georgians excel intellectually. For example, ISET regularly sends some of its graduates to the best Ph.D. programs of the world, proving that many Georgians succeed in realizing their intellectual potentials despite unfavorable conditions. At the same time, we notice that a considerable share of students who get enrolled at ISET are not well-endowed with essential knowledge and competencies, lacking, for example, presentation skills, writing proficiency, and resourcefulnes...
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May
13

Hunger Games: Speculation in Food Markets

In the old Soviet movie, “Once Upon a Time Twenty Years Later,” a mother of ten who bought a lot of clothing and food in a local shop was suspected of being a speculator by the shop administrator, who immediately called police as the woman left the shop. The woman survived arrest after it was discovered that she bought so many goods exclusively for her big family, and not for resale or so-called speculation. In Soviet times, the word “speculator” had an extremely negative meaning. People who were deemed to be speculators could be jailed if the allegation...
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May
08

Yet Another (Questionable) Farewell to Street Vendors?

  Tbilisi residents have already experienced a fair number of cycles in street vending regulations where local authorities tolerate, then regulate, and then evict street vendors. These cycles correspond with economic trends and election cycles starting in 2006, when street vending was declared illegal by the Tbilisi Government and the first attempts were made to enforce the ban. Just recently, the Tbilisi Mayor’s Office restarted its efforts to restrict trading in the streets of Tbilisi, claiming that illegal stalls in the busiest places prevent mov...
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May
06

Not So Fast….Is The Nightmare of Geogian Road (Un)Safety About to End?

On April 21, the Parliament of Georgia approved changes to the Road Traffic law introducing the so-called demerit points system (DPS) in Georgia. Under the DPS every driver will receive a reserve of 100 points. For each traffic violation, in addition to monetary penalty, the points will be deducted from a 100 points “allowance”. Once the driver “burns” through all 100 points, his or her license will be revoked for one year. Those who do not burn through their points quickly will receive a new reserve of 100 points every year on January 1st. As a member o...
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May
01

Georgia’s Energy Security in a Nutshell

Listening to discussions in professional circles and among policy makers, one can easily notice that the topic of energy security is often used as a reason to justify certain decisions, or point out the problems existing in the sector. Energy security is frequently associated with energy “independence” - a condition that only few countries in the world can claim to have achieved. This leads the public to understand energy security in a very narrow sense, associated with the share of energy produced within the borders of the country, and with the diversif...
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Apr
29

What Can Georgia Learn from Sweden’s Educational Disaster?

Between 2000 and 2012, Sweden fell in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) by 16 places from the 7th to the 23rd rank, and in the 2015 PISA study, Sweden ranked 28th of 34 countries in mathematics! As the OECD writes: “No other PISA-participating country saw a steeper decline in student performance over the past decade than Sweden.” Who is to blame? TOO MUCH COMPETITION? Those from the left side of the political spectrum claim that too much freedom of choice was introduced to the Swedish educational system. Since 1992, a voucher syst...
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