ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
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Managing Organic Waste Optimally – the Current Trends and Potential Solutions for Georgia
As waste accumulation keeps expanding, it increasingly poses a serious threat to human health and the environment.
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Tbilisi Central Park Project – Call for More Green Space in the City
ISET Policy Institute’s researcher Davit Keshelava discussed corporate income tax (CIT) reform, and expectations of inflation and economic growth in 2017 in Business Contact of Maestro TV. The Georgian government has decided to repeal distributed corporate income tax from January 2017. This reform will have a significant positive contribution to investments and economic growth in the long run, but the short-run price of the tax reduction is a loss of 300 million Lari in the budget. The Georgian government decided to compensate for this loss by increasing excise tax on cigarettes, fuels and cars. Davit noted that an increase in excise will raise the price level in the economy which reduces aggregate demand, impede economic growth and creates a risk of harming the main benefits of CIT reform. Watch the video from Maestro TV to learn more.
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A Good February for Electricity Generation: Time for Reflection, After Last Year’s Worries
The project analyzes the connection between knowledge gaps and production outcomes and structural and social change in Georgian agriculture. The potential impact of agricultural extension and training efforts as well as capital relief measures are estimated econometrically, and recommendations are given whom to target with these policy interventions.
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The Long, Hot Summer: Why We Witnessed a Spike in Forest Fires, and What Can Be Done About It – Part II (man-made fires)
See interactive chart In March 2016, the consumer confidence index (CCI) continued the increasing trend that started in October 2015. The index gained 8.6 points compared to the historic low of September 2015. Although an upward trend is clearly visible, the current CCI is still some 30.4 points adrift of the highest point seen in November 2013. Some of the factors behind the increase in March were the appreciation of the lari against the U.S. dollar, a decrease in food prices and a good winter tourism season. Interestingly, the largest improvement of the CCI was observed for respondents aged below 35, signaling that recent proactive government measures to improve the business climate may have influenced people’s perceptions.  
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The Long, Hot Summer: Why Did We Witness a Spike in Forest Fires and What Can Be Done About It – Part I
According to data from the last two weeks of April, retail food prices are down 4.6% y/y (compared to April 2015) and 0.6% m/m (compared to March 2016). During these two weeks, we have seen the biggest drops in the prices of eggplants (21.4%), buckwheat (9.4%) and tomato (9.0%). Only one (!) product increased in price during this period: greens (up 3.8%). Georgian Consumers Will Celebrate All the Way to the Easter Table Traditional Georgian households have been fasting the last few weeks, which implied reduced consumption of sugar, eggs, dairy products, fish, and meat. Lower demand may have been a factor in keeping food prices at bay, however, the downward trend in prices started more than a month before the Great Lent, in February 2016. This trend has little to do with Georgian religious traditions. Rather, it is best explained by the resetting of Georgia’s economic relations with Iran, on the one hand, and its role as a temporary buffer for Russia-banned Turkish products, on the other.