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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
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Georgian Energy Security: Reflecting on the September Power Market Data
ISET recently had the honor to host the first cohort of students for the Executive Leadership Program, which was launched in cooperation with TBC Bank, and is designed for entrepreneurs and business executives who strive to take their careers to the next level. A total of 25 professionals from both the state and private sectors gathered at ISET to greet their instructors and present themselves - as well as their professional experience - to their fellow classmates. The instructors then introduced the course, its objectives and projected results and briefly covered their own subjects of expertise.
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Tackling Unstable Housing in Georgia: a New Step towards a More Inclusive, Prosperous and Sustainable Society
On November 14, Dr. Nadja El Benni, employed at the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) until October 2016 and starting at Agroscope (Swiss Confederation’s centre of excellence for agricultural research) in January 2017 as head of the Strategic Research Division “Competitiveness and System Evaluation”, visited ISET. She delivered a presentation entitled “Perception of food quality and authenticity of Chinese consumers”. The melamine scandal of 2008 and a series of related scandals in the years thereafter has led to low levels of trust in the safety and integrity of domestically produced Chinese infant milk formula; concerned parents in China are increasingly using ‘foreign-produced’ brands.
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The Warning Bells are Ringing: A Difficult Summer Season for the Georgian Electricity Market
Once the wealthiest Soviet republic, Georgia has since fallen far behind other post-Soviet states (except for, perhaps, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Moldova) in almost any parameter of wellbeing. Adjusted for purchasing power parity, Georgia’s annual income per capita in 2012 was close to $5,900 (a little higher than in resources-poor Armenia). Moreover, the “median” Georgian, as opposed to the “average” Georgian, is much poorer than is suggested by the per capita income estimate. Like any average measure, the income per capita figure masks significant inequality in the distribution of income, and Georgia is much less equal as compared to all of its other post-Soviet peers (with the possible exception of Russia). Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Georgian nation went through a process of rapid disinvestment and de-industrialization. It was forced to shut down industrial plants, sending scrap metal abroad and pushing workers into subsistence farming or early retirement. Thanks to the country’s moderate climate and good soil conditions, hunger never became an issue, yet inequality and associated political pressures rapidly reached catastrophic dimensions, unleashing cycles of violence, undermining the political order and inhibiting prospects of economic growth.
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An Assessment of the Electricity Market in Light of the “Gavrilov Effect”
On November 8-9, the ENPARD team at ISET-PI participated in the 'Interagency Conference about Three Years of Implementation of ENPARD - Cooperative Development Component'. The conference was organized by one of the ENPARD implementer consortium led by People in Need, a non-governmental organization, at Akaki Tsereteli State University in Kutaisi. Among the participants were representatives from the EU delegation, ENPARD implementer organizations, Agricultural Cooperative Development Agency, and cooperative members. The lessons learned of the past three years were presented by the participants, with discussions to shape future plans and recommendations for the better development of cooperatives following afterwards.
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How Can You Be Sure? On the Agricultural Insurance in Georgia
According to Geostat’s rapid estimates, real GDP grew by 1.5% in September 2016, while the growth rate for Q3 stood at 2.2% year over year (YoY). The estimated third quarter growth was thus 1.3 percentage points lower than ISET-PI’s GDP forecast for the quarter. One should note that the data from September are likely to include a very high services component (revenues from the tourism sector). Therefore, the quarterly growth number is likely to be revised upward in the future as more data comes in. Download the full report
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The Dire State of Business Support Organizations in Georgia
On November 7, ISET hosted Professor Rögnvaldur Hannesson of the Norwegian School of Economics, who gave a presentation entitled ‘Tradable Fish Quotas and Return on Capital in Norwegian Fisheries’. Dr. Hannesson started by defining a key problem facing the Norwegian fishing industry. Water basins are generally considered to be common property, as well as the fish inside them, and so fishermen consider water basins as an unlimited resource for their profit. However, this problem usually leads to a situation wherein fishermen use more effort to catch a fish than the revenue returns their work brings. Dr. Hannesson explained that there are two ways to solve the problem: the introduction of taxation or quotas. Dr. Hannesson used data from the Norwegian fishing industry to check whether the introduction of quotas does indeed help to solve the problem of overfishing and to increase return on capital in this industry.
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