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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Jan
29

Earth Is not Cool, It Is Getting Hotter!!!

Did you know that: • the 20 warmest years on record have been in the past 22 years? • average wildlife populations have dropped by 60% in just over 40 years (60% between 1970 and 2014)? • every year, nearly 1 million hectares (larger than New York City) of coastal ecosystems are destroyed? • in the past 20 years, 4.2 billion people have been affected by weather-related disasters, including a significant loss of lives? These and other broader changes such as rising sea levels, accelerating ice melt, shifting seasons, etc.  occurring on earth are...
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Dec
30

Food Prices are on Fire

In November 2019, prices for food and non-alcoholic beverages, as measured by the Food Price Index (FPI), drastically increased by 13.4% compared to November 2018 and contributed 4.02 percentage points to the change in the total Consumer Price Index (CPI). In recent months, annual food inflation marked at its highest level since August 2011 (Figure 1).1 Figure 1: Annual Food Price Inflation (January 2010-November 2019) Prices increased for all sub-categories of food and non-alcoholic beverages. The largest price increases were observed for fruits and gr...
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Jun
11

Sweet Little Lies – Things That Make Us “Happy”

  On May 17, 2017, the Georgian government adopted amendments to the Tobacco Control Law with 85 votes in favor, and only one against. This highly debated new regulation, which bans smoking in public places, was initiated by Parliament member Ms. Guguli Maghradze who just recently discussed the obesity problem in Georgia, which is caused partly by excess sugar consumption. Georgian public which is familiar with statements turning into law considered Ms. Maghradze’s statement as a prelude to enacting a sugar tax in Georgia. During the informal interv...
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Jun
17

How Safe Is Your Food?

  Food safety has become an important aspect of agricultural policy for many countries (see, e.g., CAP). By definition, “Food safety refers to the conditions and practices that preserve the quality of food to prevent contamination and foodborne illnesses.” In other words, food safety aims to protect the health of humans, animals and plants at every stage of the food production chain in conformance with the "farm-to-table” principle established by the EU. FOOD SAFETY IN GEORGIA On June 27, 2014, Georgia and the EU signed the Association Agreement (AA...
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May
13

Hunger Games: Speculation in Food Markets

In the old Soviet movie, “Once Upon a Time Twenty Years Later,” a mother of ten who bought a lot of clothing and food in a local shop was suspected of being a speculator by the shop administrator, who immediately called police as the woman left the shop. The woman survived arrest after it was discovered that she bought so many goods exclusively for her big family, and not for resale or so-called speculation. In Soviet times, the word “speculator” had an extremely negative meaning. People who were deemed to be speculators could be jailed if the allegation...
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Feb
11

Is Lari Hitting Our Dinner Tables?

“The Arab Spring was a revolution of the hungry.” So stated The Boston Globe’s journalist Thanassis Cambanis in his 2011 article claiming that in countries where access to food was an issue, “hitting the dinner table” is not a good idea. In order to demonstrate the importance of food prices, he went even further, and reminded his readers that when food price inflation in Egypt reached almost 19%, the president of the country had to resign. Food price spikes like the grain price spike in 2007-2008 or some other shocks like currency depreciation, can lead ...
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