ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.

Yasya Babych has not set their biography yet

Feb
08

To Prevent, to Repair, or to Start Over: Should Georgia Put ‘Maintenance’ Ahead of ‘Investment’ in Its Development Dictionary?

In a recent blog post, Y. Babych and L. Leruth raised several issues related to public infrastructure management in the city of Tbilisi. They observed that the consequences of poor past management practices were highly visible. But some of these consequences are also less visible or less immediate. Take schooling, for example. If the authorities fail to plan for the expected increase in the city’s population over the next few years and neglect to build an adequate number of kindergartens/pre-schools, the results will be overcrowded, fast decaying pre-sch...
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Nov
16

Tbilisi: a Growing City with Growing Needs

  Until 2014, the population of Tbilisi remained more or less constant, even slightly decreasing at the same rate as the population of the country as a whole. Since 2014, though, there has been a marked migration to the capital as seen in the graph below. A similar trend is observed all over the world.  On average, a little over half of the global population currently lives in cities and, according to a recent report by the UN, that figure is expected to increase to 66 percent by 2050.1 Georgia is almost there: taken together, the country’s 7 l...
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Oct
19

Sorry, You're Fired Due to COVID! Has COVID-19 Widened Gender Gap?

When the Georgian unemployment statistics for Quarter 2 (April, May, June) of 2020 came out, no one was surprised to see that the national unemployment rate, which had been falling steadily over the previous quarters, and even years, suddenly increased by 0.9 percentage points relative to the same quarter of 2019 (more precisely from 11.4% in Q2 2019 to 12.3% in Q2 2020). Perhaps we were more surprised by the fact that the unemployment rate did not go up more drastically in the midst of a strict lockdown, various travel restrictions, and quarantine measu...
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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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Jan
17

Making a Break-Through in Gender Equality Will Not Be Easy – That’s Why Evidence-Based Approaches to Policy Should Be Taken Seriously

On November 15-16, 2019, FREE Network and ISET Policy Institute organized and conducted an international gender economics conference in Tbilisi, Georgia1. The conference brought together researchers, policy-makers, and the broader development community to discuss obstacles to gender equality and women’s economic empowerment, and policies to remove the existing constraints, focusing on Eastern Europe and Emerging Economies. The conference’s opening remarks were offered by two prominent keynote speakers: Dr. Caren Grown, Senior Director for Gender at the W...
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Dec
24

Holiday Gifts Are Extremely Inefficient, So Why Do We Bother?

Today and tomorrow over a third of the world’s population (around 2 billion people) will be celebrating Christmas1. Traditionally, the holiday season will inevitably feature an exchange of gifts. The sums spent on Christmas gift-giving are huge! For example, in 2018 the expected spending on Christmas gifts in the United States is around 885 USD per person2 - this is about 2.8% of what someone in the middle of income distribution earns per year. If we work backwards from these figures and assume that a similar share of an average family’s income is devote...
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