ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus by ISET
Jun
26

In debt and broke in Georgia

  An individual living in Kutaisi took a 1500 USD real estate secured loan from one of the microfinance institutions in 2011 and had to pay 75 USD interest rate for the following 6 months. The purpose of taking this loan was to finance treatment of her child. She was unable to cover monthly payments and prolonged the term to 10 month, but failed to cover this payments again and was fined several times. In the end, loan was restructured and monthly interest raised to 83 USD, while the amount of total loan nearly doubled to 2700 USD. As a result, she ...
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Jun
24

Making Nature’s Value Visible as a Step Towards (Greater) Sustainable Development

After the Rose Revolution, in the name of of economic growth, the Georgian government set aside environmental issues and focused on a quick economic recovery. This is understandable, as the Georgian economy was still recovering from the collapse of the early 90’s, and the pressure to accelerate the process was high. At that time, the existing environmental regulations were perceived as an additional constraint to faster growth, and as potentially fertile ground for corruption. Getting rid of those regulations was perceived as the fastest and most effecti...
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Jun
17

How Safe Is Your Food?

  Food safety has become an important aspect of agricultural policy for many countries (see, e.g., CAP). By definition, “Food safety refers to the conditions and practices that preserve the quality of food to prevent contamination and foodborne illnesses.” In other words, food safety aims to protect the health of humans, animals and plants at every stage of the food production chain in conformance with the "farm-to-table” principle established by the EU. FOOD SAFETY IN GEORGIA On June 27, 2014, Georgia and the EU signed the Association Agreement (AA...
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Jun
12

Wanna Get Rich? Make Batumi Your “Second Home”!

With 6.3 million tourists visiting the country in 2016, Georgia has become a popular tourist destination. In May, the number of international visitors (those who stayed in the country 24 hours or more) increased annually by 19% (compared to the same month in the previous year). While Tbilisi Airport is the main border-crossing point, in May, Batumi Airport overshot Kutaisi Airport, famous for its low costs flights, and experienced a 20% annual increase in the number of arrivals. The concert of legendary musical band “Aerosmith,” which took place near Bat...
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Jun
10

Is Less More When Hosting International Events in Your Home Country?

In just a couple of weeks Baku is going to host the second Formula One Grand Prix in its history. Being in love with motor races and inspired by the fact that for the first time in my life I will attend such an important race (and the Land of Fire); I tried to explore the economic impact of hosting expensive international events for one’s country. In 2017, the Formula One Championship will take place in 20 countries. Nineteen of these countries are either in the top 15 by the level of GDP, or are (net) oil and gas exporters. The only exception here is Hu...
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Jun
05

Commercializing Science: Story of the Phage

All over the world, the quest for technological innovation is proceeding with great intensity. Georgia is not an exception. While local universities are trying to build fab-labs (fabrication laboratories - small-scale workshops offering personal digital fabrication), the government has established the Georgian Innovation and Technology Agency (GITA) to support the creation of start-ups and tech companies. In addition, there are still a large number (more than 60) of still-operating former Soviet scientific institutions, either working independently, or u...
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