ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Sep
25

Is ISET’s New BA Program Winning the Fight for Best Brains in Georgia?

  It is no secret that global competition for the best brains is as intense as ever. Having adequate human capital can put a country on a trajectory of perpetual growth, say economists. The ‘brain wars’ typically play out in the setting of national and multinational companies competing for talent, but some of the most intense fights happen between universities struggling to recruit and retain the best young minds on the planet. Even elite institutions such as Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Oxford and Cambridge are only as good as the quality of their last ...
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Sep
18

Quick and Dirty Decisions Are Not Always Smart!

When my mom was at my age (twenty-four), she already had a ring on her finger, a family, two kids, and a very clear idea about her life. I am not yet married, but I have already made at least one very important decision in my life – to become an economist. I made this fateful decision at 22, having tried myself in a banking job (that I hated). Many of my friends, however, are stuck with the educational and professional choices they have made very early in the lives, before knowing who they are and what they could possibly achieve. I’ve always thought tha...
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Sep
04

Crime and Punishment. The Georgian Version

Driving back home after a two-week family vacation in Turkey, a horrific surprise awaited us at the border-crossing in Vale (near Akhaltsikhe). We arrived just before midnight on Saturday, August 26, 2017. What we knew to be a very efficient procedure lasted much longer than the expected 2-3 minutes. And then came the shocking verdict: – Dear Mr. Livny, you will not be able to continue your journey. According to our records, there is an order to have your car impounded. We are not yet sure why, but perhaps you haven’t paid a fine. The officer in charge o...
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Jul
03

Georgian Wool: Can It Become the “Golden Fleece” Again?

Back in 2014, Georgia and the European Union (EU) signed an Association Agreement, which included the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) between the EU and Georgia. While this agreement creates new opportunities for Georgia’s agricultural exports, high food safety standards in the EU market make it difficult to fully utilize these opportunities. This is particularly true for products of animal origin, which are subject to strict regulations. The necessary standards were successfully met last year for Georgian wool (fleece), and it became the ...
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Jul
01

How Can Georgian Economy Benefit from Bitcoin?

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS For the first time in history, the price of Bitcoin broke its highest record (Figure 1) rising above 2,900 USD during the last week of June, 2017. One of the reasons why the market unexpectedly became optimistic about Bitcoin could be the fact that in April, the Japanese government formally accepted1 the cryptocurrency as a mean of exchange, which gave it more validity in Asia’s richest economy. Moreover, there has been significant growth of international money transfer services that use Bitcoin in order to move currency from one coun...
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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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