ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus by ISET
Feb
04

How to De-Dollarize in a Smart Way: Lessons from the Georgian and Foreign Experiences

Unofficial (partial) dollarization describes a situation when a foreign currency is used alongside the domestic currency for transactions purposes and as a store value. High partial dollarization is not good for a country, as it ties the hands of its Central Bank when it wants to use monetary policy. In a highly dollarized economy, national currency depreciation can even lead to financial instability. As a transition economy, Georgia is characterized by high levels of dollarization. Therefore, recent waves of lari depreciation has prompted authorities to...
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Jan
30

The Gazprom Deal and Georgian Energy Security. What Should Georgia do Next?

Every winter, one of the most actively discussed issues of energy policy - both on TV and in professional circles - is natural gas. Prices and supply conditions are frequently part of the political debate. The main reason behind such active discussion is energy security concerns. What is energy security? The International Energy Agency defines energy security as “the uninterrupted availability of energy sources at an affordable price.” Obviously, all countries around the world care about energy security, because interruptions in the availability of energ...
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Jan
28

Georgia and the Gravity of Migration

Whatever Kim Jong-un’s propaganda says about the greatness of his country, it is a fact that nobody immigrates to North Korea but almost everyone wants to get out. Likewise, whatever conservative Muslims say about the depraved West – there is a huge net migration out of Muslim countries into these rotten and decadent Western societies. And also the “socialist paradises” of the past had to take great efforts to make sure their lucky populations did not leave: the Berlin Wall was built in 1961 because the large-scale drainage of labor threatened Eastern Ge...
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Jan
23

A Case for an Antidumping Law in Georgia?

Protectionism and any kind of import restrictions have supporters in every country, and Georgia is no exception. Recently, I attended a lunch meeting on the need for an antidumping law, organized by Georgian Lawyers for Independent Professions, Governing for Growth (G4G), and the Society of Free Individuals. Participants from different sectors and institutions presented their views on the possible economic consequences of antidumping regulations currently being discussed by the Georgian government. From an economist’s perspective, I believe there are num...
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Jan
21

Money for Nothing: Why Don’t Georgian Students Act Like Investors?

Back in 2005, the Georgian government introduced the Unified Entry Examinations (UEE) for admittance into universities. Before the UEE, each university had their own set of entry examinations and examiners, which opened the system to abuse and corruption. With the introduction of the UEE, the government of Georgia managed to make the system fairer and more transparent. As part of this process, the government provides merit-based scholarships to students, based on standardized test scores. The very best students can get up to 2,250 GEL per year for all th...
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Jan
14

How Can We Revitalize the Struggling Georgian Agricultural Sector?

LEFT BEHIND Between 1990 and 1994, the Georgian economy experienced one of the sharpest declines in economic activity in recent history, with GDP per capita falling by more than 70 percent. Since then, however, especially after 2003, it has been growing quite fast, with the Georgian GDP per capita overtaking the 1990 level in 2013. However, the Georgian agricultural sector, in the same period, has been characterized by a quite different trend, as shown in Figure 1. Figure 1. GDP Per Capita and Agriculture Value Added as a Share of GDP During the crisis ...
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