ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Apr
03

Should the World Sacrifice the Economy to Save Lives Today?

No two countries that both have a McDonald's have ever been at war wrote American political commentator and author Thomas L. Friedman in 1996. Since then, of course, there have been plenty of instances of countries with McDonald’s warring, including Russia and Georgia. Though, one should not take Friedman’s phrase too literally. Rather he implies that the spread of McDonald's is a part of a worldwide phenomenon of countries integrating with the global economy, which, in turn, makes wars less likely. Well, Kudos to globalization. But also, thanks to globa...
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Apr
03

The Generation-Consumption Gap Keeps Increasing. What Could or Should Be Done About It?

Looking at the consumption and generation trends of the past year, it is evident that Georgia is an electricity importing country during most months, with consumption almost always exceeding domestic generation. The only exceptions over the last 12 months were May and June, when the generation-consumption gap briefly became positive, reverting to the negative again in July. This is quite a dramatic change from how the country’s generation-consumption gap looked back in 2010, when the country exported almost seven times more electricity (1524.3 GWh) than ...
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Mar
27

Regional Impacts of COVID-19 Shock to HORECA Sector

The outbreak of the virus and the corresponding containment measures have started to severely affect the global economy. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), in its Interim Economic Outlook Report (2020) on March 2nd downgraded 2020 real GDP growth projections for almost every country. The largest reduction in growth projections is seen for China (-0.8 percentage points) with worldwide real GDP growth rate expected to decline from 2.9% (November 2019 forecast) to 2.4%. In their report on March 6th, Asian Development Bank (AD...
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Mar
17

It’s Not Who You Trade With – It’s Who You Produce With: Measuring Georgia’s Integration into Global and Regional Value Chains

  GLOBAL VALUE CHAINS AND THE CHANGING NATURE OF COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGE We live in the world where production of a single good typically involves manufacturing inputs from many different countries around the globe. For example, a typical iPhone production takes place in as many as 7 countries, including USA, Mongolia, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China and even Switzerland. This is what is known to economists as global value chains (GVC). The emergence of GVC more than two decades ago transformed the way economists think about countries’ comparative advanta...
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Mar
10

Belarusian Path to Transition: Lessons for Georgia?

“The lobby of the Metropole, Moscow's lovingly restored grand hotel a few blocks from Red Square, is almost deserted on this gray spring afternoon. That's just fine with Jeffrey D. Sachs, a boyish-looking 38-year-old Harvard professor who is now probably the most important economist in the world. He has appropriated a cluster of comfortable armchairs for a meeting with two members of his team, Americans who work full time in Russia. The agenda is Russia's safety net or, more precisely, whether unemployed workers will be able to make ends meet. Russia is ...
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Mar
09

Agriculture in Georgia: Are There Any Real Changes in the Sector?

After years of negligence, from 2012 onwards, Georgian agriculture returned to the spotlight. State funding for the sector grew from 85 mln. GEL in 2011 to more than 200 mln. GEL in the consecutive years, and up to 293 mln. GEL in 2020. The state launched more than ten agricultural support programs and established a separate agency, the Agricultural Projects Management Agency (APMA), in 2013 for their management. Those engaged in agriculture obviously welcome the increased state support to the sector, however many now question the results. The various ou...
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