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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus by ISET
Feb
25

Law Can’t Buy Me Love… To The National Currency

  Beginning in July 2017, if an entrepreneur offers and/or advertises a property and/or service for sale in the territory of Georgia, the price of the property/service shall be expressed solely in GEL. According to the bill, failure to abide by the new law when denominating the price will lead to a warning, while a repeated offense will lead to a penalty of 1000 GEL. Each subsequent offense will be subject to a penalty of 5000 GEL. BACKGROUND INFORMATION This law is one of a few changes which will take place in support of a de-dollarization plan imp...
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Feb
20

Price and Prejudice on the Georgian Market for Cigarettes

Benjamin Franklin once said, “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Yet we have a tax that could prevent hundreds of millions of premature deaths. It is time to use it more effectively. -Prabhat Jha It is a truth universally acknowledged, that cigarettes are bad for human health. Yet, whenever the government tries to regulate consumption of cigarettes by increasing their price, it gets a very mixed reaction from the public. Some people (mostly non-smokers) welcome these policies, while others accuse the government of ...
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Feb
18

Marriage: Till Death Do Us Part(?)

  Premise: I have to admit from the beginning that I am not married myself, thus what is written below is an outsider’s insights into explaining the phenomena of marriage. Marriage is a phenomenon strongly intertwined within our culture and everyday life. It is almost a “must do” thing in Georgian traditional society, and it has to be approved either by religious authority or by the state, or both. A recent study about Georgian youth entitled “Generation in Transition, Youth Study Georgia – 2016” by the Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung, shows the 14-29 age ...
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Feb
13

Modern Quagmire and Georgia's Trump Card?

  “The fundamental problem for Georgian security is that Russia holds all the major cards and no one is reshuffling the deck in Georgia’s favour”, writes Neil MacFarlane in his 2016 article on Georgia’s security situation. Georgia has a mighty neighbor that is not democratic, does not respect the right of self-determination of nations, and, most importantly, actually brings its military power to bear whenever Russian (legitimate or illegitimate) interests are not sufficiently honored. To add insult to injury, Russia’s military strength is unconteste...
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Feb
11

Is Lari Hitting Our Dinner Tables?

“The Arab Spring was a revolution of the hungry.” So stated The Boston Globe’s journalist Thanassis Cambanis in his 2011 article claiming that in countries where access to food was an issue, “hitting the dinner table” is not a good idea. In order to demonstrate the importance of food prices, he went even further, and reminded his readers that when food price inflation in Egypt reached almost 19%, the president of the country had to resign. Food price spikes like the grain price spike in 2007-2008 or some other shocks like currency depreciation, can lead ...
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Feb
06

Failure is Always an Option! Or is it?

“The type of failure we’re talking about is like how frogs lay 20,000 eggs so a few wind up as adults sitting on a lily pad sucking down mosquito dinners” is how the author of the recent Newsweek article describes the rate of failure it takes to breed a handful of unicorns-tech startups valued at more than $1 billion. Failure has increasingly become a chapter in success stories; stories which inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs to try, fail, try again, and succeed. Economics, as we have come to know it, is about efficient allocation of resources. R...
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