ISET

Ulrich Koester, Professor of Agricultural Economics at Kiel University and IAMO Visiting Research Fellow, paid a visit to ISET on May 30. During his presentation, Prof. Koester provided an overview about the specifics of the agricultural sector and its impact on agricultural trade; furthermore, he clarified that traditional trade theory is of minor relevance for explaining agricultural trade policies and trade flows.

Prof. Ulrich started his presentation by explaining the standard model of trade liberalization. He clarified that the theory behind this does not explicitly claim that ‘free trade is best’, and instead states that ‘given certain assumptions, it is best’. In line with traditional trade theory, the effect of changes in trade policy cannot be quantified correctly with a comparative-static analysis. Adjustment effects are the most important, especially the specifics of agricultural factors of production limit adjustment in the short and medium terms. In addition, changes in the whole economy are of the most importance, rather than those of one specific sector.

On May 27 2017, German and Swiss students and professionals from The Mercator Fellowship, together with ISET researchers, visited Kakheti for a wine tour.

The Mercator Fellowship on International Affairs is a project jointly run by the German Academic Scholarship Foundation and the Stiftung Mercator, in cooperation with the Federal Foreign Office, the Swiss Study Foundation, the Mercator Foundation Switzerland, and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.

Mercator Fellows work in international organizations or business enterprises for 13 months. They contribute to projects in a number of different areas, such as sustainable agricultural development, climate change, renewable energies, international human rights, peace and security, among others. During their visit to Georgia, Mercator program directors and Fellows of 2016-2017 met with representatives of the Georgian government and the private sector to learn more about Georgia’s current policy agenda and economic development.

ISET continues its student policy paper seminar series for the institute's second-year students. This time, Ketevan Bochorishvili, Natia Maisuradze, Nami Surguladze, Orkhan Suleymanli and Nijat Guliyev presented their joint paper on agricultural development.

The students opened by that the slow growth in agricultural sector of Georgia is a subject of ongoing debate. Their cross comparison of agricultural indicators showed that while agricultural development in Georgia predictably lags behind that of Germany and the United States, it also falls behind Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Ukraine, and the Kyrgyz Republic. While 50 percent of employment is in agriculture, agriculture accounts for just 10 percent of the country's GDP, which clearly shows the utter inefficiency of agriculture in Georgia.

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