ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus by ISET
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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Dec
10

Georgia Needs Compact Government!

In recent years, a tendency on the part of different authorities to consolidate has been noted worldwide. Competition agencies are merging with consumer protection agencies and/or regulators in order to establish more effective and less expensive public systems. Accordingly, since the first roundtable meeting on the optimal design of a competition agency, held in February 2003, OECD has organized two more roundtables concerning changes in institutional design of competition authorities in less than one year – one in December 2014, and one in June 2015. A...
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Dec
05

When Good Intentions Lead to Bad Outcomes. Tree-Cutting Regulations in Tbilisi

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. Saint Bernard of Clairvaux As economic development progresses, air pollution and the lack of green spaces have become increasingly painful issues for Tbilisi citizens. In our previous blog, Breathing in Tbilisi, we discussed the negative outcomes – in terms of air pollution and tree-cutting – generated by the actions of self-interested developers facing an inert civil society and a local government that is unwilling and/or unable to protect green public spaces. While that is a classic example of market fa...
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