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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus by ISET
Mar
20

Has The Orthodox Church Been Too Successful?

For a long time, it has been a taboo to criticize the Orthodox Church in Georgia. Quite recently, however, the clergymen themselves lifted this taboo by publicly carrying out their conflicts. The visit of Pope Francis in September 2016 sparked a plethora of mutual accusations. Archpriest Davit Isakadze was against the Pope’s visit and blamed the two other Archpriests Toedore Gignadze and Aleksandre Galdava for being sectarians and church enemies. These accusations were rebutted by Archpriests Levan Mateshvili and Ilia Chigladze, who called for protecting...
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Mar
18

Rising Generation of Georgian Agripreneurs

According to the ILO’s Global Employment Trends Report, agriculture accounts for 32% of total employment globally, and 39% in Asia and the Pacific. In spite of this, it seldom tops young people’s “most wanted” wish list of careers. In developed countries like Korea and Australia, employment in the agricultural sector is gaining more and more popularity, however, moving back to the countryside in developing nations remains associated with poverty, inefficiency and lack of progress. In Georgia, the majority of the population is employed in agriculture, but...
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Mar
17

Wood: Still the Most Affordable Fuel Option for Rural Households?

  Despite the fast pace of installing gas infrastructure throughout the country, wood remains a major household fuel in Georgia. According to Georgia’s energy balance1, in 2014, Georgian households consumed 19,131 Terajoules2 of bio fuel and waste (mainly wood). The share of wood in total energy consumed by households was 38%. Chart 1. Wood satisfies almost 40% of households’ demand on energy in Georgia According to the National Statistics Office of Georgia, in 2014, the total volume of logging in was 670,241 cubic meters of wood/timber. In additio...
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Mar
13

How to Prevent the Tobacco Law from Going Up in Smokes?

BACKGROUND After a hike in excise tax on cigarettes in January 2017, Parliament of Georgia is going to introduce legislative changes to the existing tobacco control law (TCL) in March. Since its enactment in 2003, TCL has been modified several times. However, the recently proposed changes can be considered the most radical step towards a tobacco-free society in Georgia. New draft law comprehensively covers production, packaging, marketing, advertising, selling and consumption of tobacco, and other activities of tobacco businesses. The main changes can be...
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Mar
11

When Carrefour Corners Your Corner Store

In the last few decades, large supermarkets (referring to all modern retail, which includes chain stores of various formats such as hypermarkets, convenience and neighborhood stores) have changed the retail business landscape in many countries through larger store formats, more shelf space, an increased variety of goods and services, and extensive marketing strategies. The so-called “supermarket revolution” has been underway in developing countries since the early 1990s, and supermarkets have now gone well beyond their initial upper and middle class cust...
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Mar
06

Economic Freedom (Act): Do We Need It or Not?

The so-called “Economic Freedom Act” (EFA), which has been a matter of public discussion in recent weeks, refers to two pieces of legislation: (i) a Constitutional amendment from 2010, which requires a referendum for introducing new taxes or increasing the tax rate, and (ii) the Law on Economic Freedom (2011), in force since 2013, setting a number of additional restrictions to government fiscal policy (Table 1). Table 1. Law on Economic Freedom in Short Number of Tax...
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