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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
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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Nov
02

The Inflation Targeting Framework of the National Bank of Georgia: Is It the Right Model?

As the Georgian Lari (GEL) briefly depreciated in September 2020, the National Bank of Georgia (NBG) once again became the subject of criticism for not being able to stabilize the exchange rate even though it had injected 120 million US$ in the economy. At a press conference (2020/09/16), the President of the NBG objected that the aim of the injection of US$ was not to strengthen the GEL since the NBG operated under a floating exchange rate policy. Rather, he went on to explain, the NBG’s constitutional duty was to ensure price stability on the basis of ...
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Jun
30

Mortgage Subsidy – Encouraging Borrowing in the Midst of a Crisis

On 28 May, Georgia announced its fourth anti-crisis plan, in which the government will subsidize 4 per cent of the interest rate of mortgage loans for five years. The subsidy will be issued for loans not exceeding 200,000 GEL and will only apply to those taking mortgages for the purchase of residential apartments that are newly built or under construction, from 1 June 2020 to 1 January 2021. The state will also ensure the completion of ongoing construction. Moreover, the state will issue loan guarantees on mortgages to the amount of 20 per cent of their ...
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Jun
10

Could the Government Act as Coordinator?

In Avchala, in the middle of nowhere, you might be surprised to find the busy “Craftsmen’s City” or “Khelosnebis Kalaki” as it is called in Georgian. It is built on a 4-ha plot where there used to be a large carpet manufacturing plant in Soviet times, which vanished with the Soviet Union and turned into a concrete carcass surrounded by a swamp. Luckily, ten years ago, a man called Irakli bought this territory with the intention of renting it out1 — though it was not an easy task! At a minimum, Irakli had to provide basic conditions for people to mov...
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Apr
06

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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