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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus by ISET
May
29

Higher Equality for Higher Growth

Back in 12th century, one of the greatest Georgians, Shota Rustaveli, was writing about equal rights for men and women in his poem. Do we share his ideas today? The Georgian constitution has a guarantee of gender equality in the country. Accordingly, men and woman have equal rights to land ownership, and the right to inherit land is same for both sexes. However, in Georgia, as in many developing countries, land ownership issues are very much influenced by cultural values. Georgian traditions make it less likely that land will be inherited by the daughter...
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May
27

Sabina and Rahul, Welcome to Georgia!

The number of foreign students has been steadily increasing around the world. More and more students chose to earn a degree outside of their home countries. Education internalization plays a key role in the development of today’s educational systems, and the impact of international students goes beyond their short-term financial effect on the economy; it plays a vital role for social cohesion and development of international networks, etc. The literature distinguishes between two types of economic impacts related to international students: short-term ben...
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May
22

Free or Fearful? The Fear of Floating in the South Caucasus

In economics there is a long-standing debate on whether emerging markets should adopt a fixed exchange rate currency regime or leave their exchange rates up to markets to decide. Intuitively, exchange rate is just another price, similar to the price on a sack of potatoes, a liter of milk or a kilogram of honey. Except that exchange rate is the price of 1 unit of foreign currency (say, 1 US dollar) in terms of our domestic currency. Textbook economics would tell us that price flexibility is essential for markets to function well, to quickly clear up any s...
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May
20

Who Said “First Duty, Then Pleasure”? When Happiness and Success (Individual and National) Go Hand in Hand

  According to the recent World Happiness Report 2017, Georgia ranks 125th among 155 countries with respect to peoples’ happiness. On a 0-10 happiness scale, the country scores only 4.29. Figure 1 below presents rankings and happiness scores for Georgia and its neighbors, as well as for the world’s best and worst performers. The top five countries - Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and Finland - are clustered so tightly that the differences among them are not statistically significant; they could be merged in a single “top performing cluster” w...
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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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