Holiday Gifts Are Extremely Inefficient, So Why Do We Bother?
24 December 2018

Today and tomorrow over a third of the world’s population (around 2 billion people) will be celebrating Christmas1. Traditionally, the holiday season will inevitably feature an exchange of gifts. The sums spent on Christmas gift-giving are huge! For example, in 2018 the expected spending on Christmas gifts in the United States is around 885 USD per person2 – this is about 2.8% of what someone in the middle of income distribution earns per year.

Money Can’t Buy Happiness. Or Can It? A Case Study from Yerevan
20 November 2018

I have been living away from Yerevan for four years. Over these years, every time I visited my city, I noticed more and more new (and fancy) cafes. Over time, I also noticed that café visits seemed to grow in numbers and I started wondering whether it was just my impression or the reality. I have been particularly puzzled by the paradoxical nature of the fact that people always complain about their wages and living standards, yet they do not mind spending money in cafés.

On Pepsi, McDonald’s and the Promised Land
26 March 2018

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”.

ISET Seminars: "Behavioral Economics – an Introduction"
24 November 2016

Behavioral economics is one of the most notable fields of modern economics. It draws insights from psychology, sociology, biology, and other social sciences.

ISET Consumer Confidence: Anticipation Beats Realization
19 October 2016

The CCI, which is computed by ISET-PI on a monthly basis, monitors how Georgians feel about their personal financial situations and the economic well-being of the whole country. Roughly speaking, the index is computed as the difference between the frequencies of positive and negative answers to 12 questions covering the present and expected economic situations of the households surveyed, as well as general economic parameters of the country, such as inflation and unemployment.