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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Feb
26

Organic Is The New Black!

  Year by year, interest in the organic market is increasing all over the world. According to STATISTA, worldwide sales of organic food quintupled in the 21st century (18 billion USD in 2000, versus 90 billion USD in 2016), while, according to TechSci Research, the total worth of the market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.15% during the period 2017-2022. In fact, in some developed countries, the growth of supply of organic foods cannot keep up with the growth of demand (OCA, 2018), as the transition from conventio...
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Feb
19

Why Is Georgia Educating Future Unemployed?

  Sadly, today we are using budget funds to directly fund unemployment. We are financing professions that may not be required later. Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia As most other former socialist countries, Georgia enjoys a very high literacy level, as measured e.g. by the share of people completing secondary education. And yet, the single most problematic factor for doing business in Georgia, at least since 2013, is “inadequately educated workforce”. Not crime. Not corruption. Not access to finance. Not faulty infrastructure. Inade...
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Feb
12

“Just a Bit High”?

Interest in bank profitability is increasing every year. Google search data for Georgia shows that in 2017, there were 4,700 pieces (articles, blogs, comments and other documents) found for “Banks’ Profit” (ბანკების მოგება) while the same indicator in 2016 amounted to merely 2,990 pieces. In 2015, it was even smaller – 2,160 pieces. This growing interest has its own objective reason, which is simple:  In 2017, compared to the previous year, profits for commercial banks increased dramatically by 190 mln. GEL (if you like percentages, it is 28%), and ...
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Feb
05

The Tale of Two Cities: Are Almaty-Style “Bombilas” the Future of the Tbilisi Taxi Market?

  Recently, the administration of Tbilisi City Hall announced that the Tbilisi taxi market is going to be regulated. The process of switching to a regulatory frame will be gradual. At first, taxi drivers will be obliged to acquire taxi signs and permission from the appropriate authorities. This regulation is not expected to create significant pressure on taxi service providers. At the second stage, however, taxi drivers will be required to pass a technical inspection and satisfy minimal quality standards. The details of all the planned regulations r...
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Jan
29

Fighting Drug Addiction: Can Georgia Do It Better? An Economist's View of Georgia’s Drug Policy Reform

Drug policy reform is now at the center of a heated debate in Georgia. Despite the importance of the subject, however, most of the discussions I have heard so far are based on phobias and myths, rather than on evidence. This is a pity, as society will ultimately have to decide on the subject by voting YES or NO on this reform, thereby choosing between very different potential outcomes. Having an informed opinion on the issue is, therefore, extremely important. Let’s start from the beginning - what are Georgia’s major drug-related problems? 1. Georgia ran...
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Jan
22

Is the Georgian Beef Market Becoming More Western?

*  This article below summarizes the observations and recommendations of the Georgian Ministry of "Meet the Meat Demand" study  funded by the French Ministry of finance, implemented by France Génétique Elevage and executed by the International Technical Cooperation Bureau of the French livestock organizations (BCTI). When visiting Georgia, the son of a French farmer may feel like cows are invading the countryside. They seem to be everywhere, roaming in little herds, cows, heifers and calves all together, searching for every blade of grass ...
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