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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus by ISET
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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Dec
17

Two Heads – One Public, One Private – Are Better Than One

Back in October 2015, a team of ISET researchers visited Charity House Catharsis to donate food on World Food Day, celebrated around the globe on October 16th. Catharsis was founded in 1990 and provides daily dinner to 310 elderly in need. Although the major function of the charity house is to provide food, Catharsis also offers other services like medical assistance, a relaxation room, chapel, rehabilitation hall, library and café. According to Elene Cucqiridze, one of the managers of Catharsis, the NGO a joint effort of government and the private secto...
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Dec
13

Is Georgia Heading towards an Oversupply of Hotels?

Citizens of Georgia’s capital recently witnessed the luxurious Biltmore Hotel Tbilisi grand opening. A $140 million investment by the Dhabi Group supplied the market with 214 luxury rooms and suits.  The $2 million opening, huge building and central location (right on Rustaveli Avenue) made the appearance of this hotel on the market very noticeable.  However, with much less lavish ceremonies, in total 37 hotels were opened in Georgia just this year, as reported by the Georgian National Tourism Agency (GNTA), which amounts to an additional 1,472...
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