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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Sep
05

Georgian Pension Reform – an Experiment in Libertarian Paternalism?

Starting from October 1, 2017, a private retirement savings system will be launched in Georgia as part of a broader pension reform. This reform has been discussed by Nino Doghonadze and Yaroslava Babych in Decent Income in Old Age: Georgian Dream or Reality? on the ISET Economist. Today we will focus only on one very interesting aspect of the reform – the “opt-out” principle and its implementation in the Georgian realities. WHAT’S IN THE “OPT-OUT”? The proposed private retirement savings system is based on the “opt-out” principle, according to which...
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Jul
11

Overworked and Underpaid

WORKING OVERTIME…  In 2014, 22% of the Georgia’s working adults reported having worked more than 40 hour per week, i.e. working overtime. This many not sound like a lot, but, as any average figure, it hides a great deal of geographic variation in the incidence of overtime work. Very few people work overtime in places where there are almost no jobs, such as Kakheti or Racha. Conversely, more than 50% work over 8 hours/day in the dynamically developing Tbilisi, and as many as 44% in the adjacent Kvemo Kartli.  With so many people doing it, ...
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Jun
13

The Economics of Boasting

WHO BOASTS, AND WHY? As argued by Omer Moav and Zvika Neeman in a 2012 paper (Moav taught at ISET in the past), boasting is a way to pretend that one has hidden income (“Saving Rates and Poverty: The Role of Conspicuous Consumption and Human Capital”, Economic Journal 122, pp. 933-956). While people may have a rough idea of the incomes of their neighbors, colleagues, friends, and other people they interact with, they usually do not know exactly how much they make. Hence, there is some wiggle room for speculation, and if one sees a colleague coming to wor...
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Jun
05

Obstacles for Dual Vocational Education in Georgia

In Central Europe, vocational education and training (VET) has a tradition that reaches back to medieval times. To become, say, a baker in 14th century Germany, one had to go through an apprenticeship of two years, working and learning in an existing bakery, where one was guided and supervised by a meister (master craftsman). The apprenticeship was standardized and – if successful – ended with the conferment of a certificate and admission to the baker’s guild.  Not only skills were acquired in the apprenticeship (e.g., kneading the dough) but also t...
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May
30

Patience, Genatsvale!

“The one who is patient, wins.” Georgian proverb One of the first things tourists in Georgia notice is how crazy that drive from the airport to the city is. Jumping red lights, breaking rules to take over the jeep in front, the Georgian taxi driver risks his (and not only his!) life to deliver his passenger to the destination. As a distraction from the dangerous ride, the driver might offer the famous “dzhigit” (a brave equestrian) joke: a dzhigit passes on red light, but stops on green – in case another dzhigit is crossing the road. Dzhigit-style d...
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