ISET

ISET Economist Blog

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

Is Less More When Hosting International Events in Your Home Country?

In just a couple of weeks Baku is going to host the second Formula One Grand Prix in its history. Being in love with motor races and inspired by the fact that for the first time in my life I will attend such an important race (and the Land of Fire); I tried to explore the economic impact of hosting expensive international events for one’s country. In 2017, the Formula One Championship will take place in 20 countries. Nineteen of these countries are either in the top 15 by the level of GDP, or are (net) oil and gas exporters. The only exception here is Hu...
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Jun
05

Commercializing Science: Story of the Phage

All over the world, the quest for technological innovation is proceeding with great intensity. Georgia is not an exception. While local universities are trying to build fab-labs (fabrication laboratories - small-scale workshops offering personal digital fabrication), the government has established the Georgian Innovation and Technology Agency (GITA) to support the creation of start-ups and tech companies. In addition, there are still a large number (more than 60) of still-operating former Soviet scientific institutions, either working independently, or u...
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May
29

Higher Equality for Higher Growth

Back in 12th century, one of the greatest Georgians, Shota Rustaveli, was writing about equal rights for men and women in his poem. Do we share his ideas today? The Georgian constitution has a guarantee of gender equality in the country. Accordingly, men and woman have equal rights to land ownership, and the right to inherit land is same for both sexes. However, in Georgia, as in many developing countries, land ownership issues are very much influenced by cultural values. Georgian traditions make it less likely that land will be inherited by the daughter...
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May
27

Sabina and Rahul, Welcome to Georgia!

The number of foreign students has been steadily increasing around the world. More and more students chose to earn a degree outside of their home countries. Education internalization plays a key role in the development of today’s educational systems, and the impact of international students goes beyond their short-term financial effect on the economy; it plays a vital role for social cohesion and development of international networks, etc. The literature distinguishes between two types of economic impacts related to international students: short-term ben...
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May
22

Free or Fearful? The Fear of Floating in the South Caucasus

In economics there is a long-standing debate on whether emerging markets should adopt a fixed exchange rate currency regime or leave their exchange rates up to markets to decide. Intuitively, exchange rate is just another price, similar to the price on a sack of potatoes, a liter of milk or a kilogram of honey. Except that exchange rate is the price of 1 unit of foreign currency (say, 1 US dollar) in terms of our domestic currency. Textbook economics would tell us that price flexibility is essential for markets to function well, to quickly clear up any s...
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May
20

Who Said “First Duty, Then Pleasure”? When Happiness and Success (Individual and National) Go Hand in Hand

  According to the recent World Happiness Report 2017, Georgia ranks 125th among 155 countries with respect to peoples’ happiness. On a 0-10 happiness scale, the country scores only 4.29. Figure 1 below presents rankings and happiness scores for Georgia and its neighbors, as well as for the world’s best and worst performers. The top five countries - Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and Finland - are clustered so tightly that the differences among them are not statistically significant; they could be merged in a single “top performing cluster” w...
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