On February 19, Sandro Shelegia, an Associate Professor of Pompeu Fabra University, presented to the ISET community a study by Joshua Sherman and himself entitled “Bargaining at Retail Stores: Evidence from Vienna”.

The Associate Professor discussed the step-by-step procedures researchers had to follow to collect reliable data, and the theoretical bases upon which the truthfulness of the analyses strongly depended. The former stage posed major challenge for Shelegia and Sherman as the data they needed — such as the name, scale, and profile of the shop, the price range of the goods sold, etc. — was not available (in a structured form) in any of the existing databases. To tackle the problem, the researchers trained 12 RAs, and identified nearly 300 different retail shops throughout Vienna, Austria, and constructed the valuable database themselves.

On February 12, the Private Sector Development Research Center (PSDRC) at ISET-PI organized a certificate award ceremony for Competition Agency staff who attended an advanced STATA training course provided by the center.

Sophiko Skhirtladze, the head of the PSDRC, who led the training course, together with Eric Livny, President of ISET and ISET-PI, and Nodar Khaduri, Chairman of the Competition Agency of Goergia, greeted the participants and awarded them their well-deserved certificates.

The two-week training course took place between January 29 and February 9, and was organized within a “Competition Agency Support” project, financed by the EU and conducted by ISET-PI staff.

Based at the International School of Economics at Tbilisi State University (ISET), the ISET Policy Institute (ISET-PI) is one of the first university-based think tanks in the South Caucasus. ISET-PI complements the educational mission of ISET by delivering training, conducting research and analysis, expressing views on policy, and providing a professional platform for policy discussions and debates.

The ISET-PI is seeking Deputy Head for the Private Sector Development Research Center. The center has been tasked to study and formulate effective policy options for strengthening private sector and promoting market competitiveness; to contribute to public debate on the issues of regulatory environment that foster opportunities for private sector development and to facilitate private sector engagement in the policy discussions and formulation.

The second phase assessment of the SME/Innovations Development reforms were conducted within the ReforMeter over the course of February.

According to a government survey, at this stage, 39.2% of the reforms that are planned to be finalized by 2020 have been implemented. In the first phase (which concluded six months ago) this indicator was 24.7%. It is notable that the rate of progress is similar in the spheres of institutional organization, capacity building and infrastructure: in these areas 40% of the reforms have been implemented. It should be considered that target indicators set by the strategy for 2020 were already achieved in 2016.

On December 14 2017, the second phase of ReforMeter started with an evaluation of Georgia’s agricultural development.

According to a Government Survey, 74.9% of the strategy has already been implemented. In the first phase, the same indicator was at 69.5%, although improvement of the Ministry of Agriculture organizational structure is still in process. The Ministry is currently implementing the following projects: gene-bank development for the conservation of agro-diversity and endemic species, scientific research on storage and processing methods, and the rational use of soil. In order to support agricultural cooperation, the following new projects were introduced: cooperative support programs in the viticulture sector, a State Program to Support Beekeeping Agricultural Co-operatives, and a program for the rational utilization of pasture and meadows. It was stated that the Agriculture Registry does not exist yet, the seed/planting material certification is still in process and a geo-information system, an analog to the Land Parcel Identification System (LPIS), does not exist either. The total area of irrigated land was increased by 2000 ha and drained land area sby 1900 ha as well. In addition, the creation of a modern DNA laboratory and the seed/planting material certification system is in process.

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