In January 2018, an IMF Working Paper published new results on the shadow economy situation for 158 countries from 1991 to 2015. According to Medina and Schneider (2018), the shadow economy in Georgia during that period constituted, on average, 64.9% of GDP – the highest indicator in the world! In 2015 (the last year available), things were slightly better for Georgia, with the share of the shadow economy standing at 53%.
According to Micklewright (Macroeconomics and Data on Children, UNICEF 2000), a share of 7% of the Georgian gross domestic product of the year 1991 accounted for education. In 1994, this number had fallen to 1%. As Micklewright comments, such a dramatic decrease in educational expenditures was never seen before nor afterward in the history of any country. Recovery after the crisis was a long process.
Apostle Matthew was a tax collector in Galilee – perhaps the most hated occupation in the ancient world. By quitting his job and deciding to follow Jesus, Mathew accomplished one of the greatest transformations possible in a person’s life. Modern tax inspectors are certainly not expected to follow Jesus.
Economic activities which are not registered (and therefore not taxed) are commonly called Shadow Economy or Underground Economy. Are there shadowy corners in Georgia’s economy? Not just corners!
The existence of a sizeable shadow (or second, informal) economy in the USSR was and is well-known. The Soviet era was characterized by a very rigid formal system with a high level of bureaucratization and inefficient planning. This resulted in many problems, both in terms of production and consumption. Soviet consumers experienced constant frustration and dissatisfaction caused by endlessly searching for goods and services they demanded, the need to queue for them without any guarantee of getting what they wanted, and the risk of having instead to accept a lower quality version or even to postpone (sometimes indefinitely) the purchase altogether (Kornai 1992).