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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus financed within the institutional grant by the Government of Sweden.
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  • Aleksandra Shalibashvili
  • Tamar Mdzeluri
  • Eka Nozadze
  • Nutsa Bazlidze
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  • Rezo Geradze
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  • Ia Vardishvili
  • Robizon Khubulashvili
  • Adam Pellillo
  • Saba Devdariani
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  • Lasha Lanchava
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  • Mariam Zaldastanishvili
  • Zurab Abramishvili
  • Gigla Mikautadze
  • Ivane Pirveli
  • Irakli Galdava
  • Florian Biermann
  • Irakli Shalikashvili
  • Olga Azhgibetseva
  • Phatima Mamardashvili
  • Eric Livny
  • David Zhorzholiani
  • Nino Kakulia
  • Laura Manukyan
  • Irakli Barbakadze
  • Lika Goderdzishvili
  • Selam Petersson
  • Sophiko Skhirtladze
  • Irakli Kochlamazashvili
  • Levan Pavlenishvili
  • Gocha Kardava
  • Rati Porchkhidze
  • Lasha Labadze
  • Muhammad Asali
  • Karine Torosyan
  • Levan Tevdoradze
  • Mariam Katsadze
  • Ana Burduli
  • Davit Keshelava
  • Giorgi Mzhavanadze
  • Elene Seturidze
  • Tamta Maridashvili
  • Mariam Tsulukidze
  • Erekle Shubitidze
  • Guram Lobzhanidze
  • Mariam Lobjanidze
  • Mariam Chachava
  • Maka Chitanava
  • Salome Deisadze
  • Ia Katsia
  • Salome Gelashvili
  • Tamar Sulukhia
  • Norberto Pignatti
  • Giorgi Papava
  • Luc Leruth
  • Yaroslava Babych
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Georgian and Armenian “Deplorables” and "Desperados" Taking It to the Streets
Georgian and Armenian ruling parties have been until recently basking in the glory of high GDP growth rates. Armenia’s stellar growth performance of 7.5% in 2017 and Georgia’s respectable 5% are, indeed, worthy of praise. However, do these figures really matter for the objective well-being of the majority of Georgians and Armenians? Second, how does economic growth, as measured by GDP, affect people’s subjective perception of happiness?
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The FitCoin Revolution!
Once dubbed Georgia's Abu Ghraib, Gldani Prison #8 has gone through a substantial makeover since its darkest hours in September 2012. The entire staff was replaced or retrained during 2013, swiftly and effectively ending human rights violations. The following year, the prison won a prestigious award as Georgia’s best correctional facility. In 2015, about 180ha in the prison’s backyard became home to Bitfury, an international bitcoin industry pioneer.
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On Pepsi, McDonald’s and the Promised Land
Back in 1991, I attended a big “Does Socialism Have a Future?” conference hosted by my alma mater, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The session I remember most vividly featured a Hungarian dissident, a poet, ridiculing ineffective communist propaganda. “Communists”, he told a sympathetic audience, “tried to convince us that jeans can cause impotence in young males and that Coca Cola is bad for people’s health”.
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Why Is Georgia Educating Future Unemployed?
Like most other former socialist countries, Georgia enjoys a very high literacy level, as measured e.g. by the share of people completing secondary education. And yet, the single most problematic factor for doing business in Georgia, at least since 2013, is the “inadequately educated workforce”. Not crime. Not corruption. Not access to finance. Not faulty infrastructure. Inadequately educated workforce.
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Who Gets to Eat from the Growing Pie?
2017 is shaping up as one of the best years in Georgia’s post-2008 crisis history. The economy is expected to expand by about 5%, beating early expectations and official forecasts by the likes of the IMF and the World Bank. Based on updated GeoStat figures for Q1 and Q2, ISET-PI’s annual growth forecast currently stands at 4.9%.
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Your Guest Is My Guest, or Why Tourism Is Not a Zero-Sum Game
The South Caucasus is divided by high mountain ranges, often impassable political borders, and ethnic conflict zones. In addition to three independent states, the region also includes three unrecognized territories. Nakhichevan is separated from Azerbaijan’s mainland by Armenia’s Syunik region. Armenia’s border with Turkey and Azerbaijan, on the other hand, is sealed for political reasons.
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