ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus by ISET
Jan
28

Georgia and the Gravity of Migration

Whatever Kim Jong-un’s propaganda says about the greatness of his country, it is a fact that nobody immigrates to North Korea but almost everyone wants to get out. Likewise, whatever conservative Muslims say about the depraved West – there is a huge net migration out of Muslim countries into these rotten and decadent Western societies. And also the “socialist paradises” of the past had to take great efforts to make sure their lucky populations did not leave: the Berlin Wall was built in 1961 because the large-scale drainage of labor threatened Eastern Ge...
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Jan
23

A Case for an Antidumping Law in Georgia?

Protectionism and any kind of import restrictions have supporters in every country, and Georgia is no exception. Recently, I attended a lunch meeting on the need for an antidumping law, organized by Georgian Lawyers for Independent Professions, Governing for Growth (G4G), and the Society of Free Individuals. Participants from different sectors and institutions presented their views on the possible economic consequences of antidumping regulations currently being discussed by the Georgian government. From an economist’s perspective, I believe there are num...
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Jan
21

Money for Nothing: Why Don’t Georgian Students Act Like Investors?

Back in 2005, the Georgian government introduced the Unified Entry Examinations (UEE) for admittance into universities. Before the UEE, each university had their own set of entry examinations and examiners, which opened the system to abuse and corruption. With the introduction of the UEE, the government of Georgia managed to make the system fairer and more transparent. As part of this process, the government provides merit-based scholarships to students, based on standardized test scores. The very best students can get up to 2,250 GEL per year for all th...
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Jan
14

How Can We Revitalize the Struggling Georgian Agricultural Sector?

LEFT BEHIND Between 1990 and 1994, the Georgian economy experienced one of the sharpest declines in economic activity in recent history, with GDP per capita falling by more than 70 percent. Since then, however, especially after 2003, it has been growing quite fast, with the Georgian GDP per capita overtaking the 1990 level in 2013. However, the Georgian agricultural sector, in the same period, has been characterized by a quite different trend, as shown in Figure 1. Figure 1. GDP Per Capita and Agriculture Value Added as a Share of GDP During the crisis ...
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Dec
24

How to Transform Georgian Agriculture – With Twitter

  Farmers can be much more effective if they have up-to-date information, on prices, practices and weather. With mobile phones and mobile Internet they can get this information when, where and how they need it. The promise of the Internet for agriculture has been a popular idea, and in Georgia, too, policymakers and donors have begun to explore the options. Some pilot projects seek to program specific platforms for farmers, in order to inform and engage them. What many of these attempts may have overlooked is that the best tool is already available...
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Dec
19

What Chile teaches Georgia

In 1991, the former finance minister of Chile, Alejandro Foxley, said in an interview: “We may not like the government that came before us. But they did many things right. We have inherited an economy that is an asset.” About twenty years before, General Augusto Pinochet had toppled the democratically elected President of Chile, Salvador Allende. Pinochet’s rule from 1973 to 1990 was characterized by severe violations of human rights, yet finally he agreed to hold a referendum on his political future, and when the Chilean people voted against him, he ste...
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