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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Giorgi Mekerishvili has not set their biography yet
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
10

An Economist’s Comment on “Dodge or Die” on the Streets of Tbilisi

[“Dodge or Die” is a series of reports on the relationship between the pedestrian and the motorist in Georgia by Robert Linkous]. As Stephen Dowling put it in his BBC News article a few years ago, “when it comes to crossing the road, there's no such thing as an international standard. Every country does it differently.” How people drive and cross the road, according to Dowling, is a matter of a country’s cultural values. Is it really? Bad traffic habits are a grave problem in many cities around the world. Yet, while many have managed to largely solve the...
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Jun
03

Riding the Dragon

Cultural and intellectual achievements herald economic success of a people, and the Chinese cultural and intellectual heritage is breathtaking. The Chinese discovered gunpowder, the compass, and the movable type printing press long before the Europeans. Admiral Zheng He’s fleet reached Mogadishu and Mombasa with up to 28,000 sailors at the same time when the Europeans set out to discover Africa with crews of not more than 300 sailors. Temporarily lamed by Mao and his followers, capitalism has unleashed the dragon once again! China is about to become the ...
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Mar
22

On Social Planning, Symphonies and Cacophonies

An unprejudiced look at the Georgian economy is rather disenchanting. Starting in 1990 at a per capita income that was close to Poland’s, Georgia went into a free fall as a result of secession wars, loss of markets, an explosion of crime and corruption, and the staggering incompetency of its governments. It took Georgia 17 years, until 2007, to merely return to where it stood at the end of the Soviet Union. In these 17 years, Poland increased its output per capita by almost 700%, achieving a level of more than 25% percent of its neighbor Germany. While G...
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