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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Levan Pavlenishvili has not set their biography yet
May
08

No Price Caps in the Electricity Wholesale Market!

This article is about a highly technical matter. To avoid losing all our readers in the very beginning, let us start with a famous doctrine by Montesquieu: Les lois inutiles affaiblissent les lois nécessaires. This principle, literally meaning “useless laws weaken the necessary laws”, should always be kept in mind by lawmakers and politicians. If a regulation is not beneficial, then it is almost surely beneficial to get rid of the regulation. Some great Georgians endorsed this principle, like Kakha Bendukidze, who is widely praised for having erased many...
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Sep
24

Azerbaijan Economy and the Oil Prices: a Blessing in Disguise?

International crude oil prices, which have hovered at $110 per barrel for the last three and a half years, started a sudden and abrupt downfall in August 2014, reaching a $50 per barrel mark in just five months. More than a year after the event, it looks like the oil price of $50 per barrel is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. BLAME THE TECHNOLOGY The primary reason behind the drop was undoubtedly the technological advances in shale oil and gas extraction in the United States – a boom so big, that the US is now poised to become a net ene...
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Sep
18

Confidence Matters!

Georgian consumer confidence suffered a major blow at the end of 2014, in the wake of the sharp Lari depreciation. Around February 2015, the Index found some support at the very low level of -35-30 points, and has been slightly improving since then. In July 2015, this mildly positive trend was reversed, and in August, the Index dropped another 4.1 points to reach a new historical minimum of -38.4 points. Interestingly, this entire drop was driven by older respondents, those aged over 35. We will come back to this point later in the article. At the same ...
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2016
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Apr
13

The Complexities Facing the Competition Authority

Economists disagree whether it was a good decision to reestablish the Georgian competition authority. When some years ago it was removed, the underlying logic was that a non-existing authority cannot be corrupt, and, more importantly, cannot harm the economy through misguided decisions. Assuming that corruption will not be a problem for the competition authority, neither now nor in the future, regulating markets is still a highly delicate issue which yields many possibilities to go wrong. WHAT IS THE RELEVANT MARKET? One of the central issues that have t...
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Mar
20

All the Roads Lead to Tskaltubo

FROM BADEN-BADEN “Roulette until six in the evening. Lost everything”, notes Leo Tolstoy on July 14, 1857. He did not pen these words in Moscow or St Petersburg”, writes Elizabeth Neu. “It was in Baden-Baden that Tolstoy closed his diary with a sigh that night.” “Tolstoy was not the only literary genius to have travelled thousands of miles from Russia to take the waters and enjoy the thrill at the roulette tables… and to leave with empty pockets. They all flocked here: the great realist Ivan Goncharov and the enthusiastic young ballad rhymer Vasili Zhuko...
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