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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
May
29

Georgia’s Underground Economy

Economic activities which are not registered (and therefore not taxed) are commonly called Shadow Economy or Underground Economy. Are there shadowy corners in Georgia’s economy? Not just corners! According to Schneider, Buehn, and Montenegro (“Shadow Economies All over the World – New Estimates for 162 Countries from 1999 to 2007”, Policy Research Working Paper 5356, The World Bank 2010), based on estimates for 2007, Georgia has by far the largest shadow economy (as a share of GDP) among all surveyed 21 transition countries. 62.1% of all economic activit...
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May
15

The Paradox of Soviet Excellence

Here is a question that has bothered me for a while and I am surprised that nobody else seems to have asked it before: How comes Western countries had the better orchestras (collectives) and Soviet Union the better classical music soloists during the Cold War? Would one not expect the contrary? And, perhaps more importantly: can economists learn something relevant from this observation? MUSIC AND SPORTS There were great orchestras both in the East and in the West and one could argue endlessly who were the greatest soloists. However, Van Cliburn is still ...
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Guest — Eric Livny
I would agree with Gia that such a sweeping generalization may be difficult to defend. The individualistic West produced plenty of... Read More
Friday, 15 May 2015 2:02 PM
Guest — Gia Bib
Interesting viewpoint, however I would restrain from generalizations. In terms of orchestras, for instance it is a well known fact... Read More
Friday, 15 May 2015 12:12 PM
Guest — mfmsm
Yes, you highlight some of the very best parts of Communism. What was wrong was the unaccountability of the oligarchy, and the des... Read More
Friday, 15 May 2015 8:08 PM
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May
01

When More Is Less: Values and Europe's Declining Fertility Rates

Judging by Georgia’s average birth rate, it clearly belongs into the European family of nations. At 1.82 children per woman, according to the latest data, the Georgian nation is below (but still relatively close to) 2.1, the birth rate at which the population size remains steady. On average, the birthrate in Europe is around 1.5, which is significantly lower than it was only fifty years ago. With the exception of Scandinavian countries, Turkey and France (Europe’s demographic “leaders”, with around 2.1 births per woman), all other European nations, ...
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Apr
24

Let Tourists Arrive and Georgia Thrive!

After the collapse of the Soviet Union it was believed that tourism might become one of Georgia’s “locomotive” sectors. While the Shevardnadze government failed to develop this potential, after the Rose Revolution, tourism became a top priority. Each year since 2005, the direct effect of tourism (i.e. the money spent by tourists) alone has contributed 6-7% of Georgia’s total GDP. Georgia is a net exporter of services, and tourism accounts for about 60% of these service exports. This is important income for the country, helping to finance the country’s la...
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Apr
20

Save the Mingrelian Language!

There are clear expectations in many cultures to marry somebody from their own group, and not living up to these expectations will at least cause a loss in reputation. This is nicely displayed in the movie Late Marriage by Dover Kosashvili, humorously depicting a young Georgian Jew in Israel whose parents want him to marry the “right” woman (the movie features extensive dialogues in Judeao-Georgian, another endangered language). Why are these sanctions imposed on people who want to marry an “outsider”? There is a simple answer to that question: without t...
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Guest — Timothy Blauvelt
This is our recent article using the Matched-Guise experimental methodology to assess attitudes towards spoken Georgian with Mingr... Read More
Monday, 20 April 2015 5:05 PM
Guest — Eric Livny
Christofer Berglund and Timothy Blauvelt have recently published a little research piece about this very subject, comfirming the m... Read More
Monday, 20 April 2015 6:06 PM
Guest — megiddo02
Martin, memetics is applied to all kinds of ideas, be them related to values or not. Indeed, from a memetic point of view, the act... Read More
Thursday, 23 April 2015 4:04 PM
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Apr
10

About Smart People, Hard Work and Miracles

A year ago, in March 2014, I was invited to speak at an Israeli-Georgian innovation forum, organized by the Israeli embassy. For a number of reasons I chose 1977 as the starting point of my presentation. One of these was personal – my family immigrated to Israel from St.Petersburg, Russia, in that year. But, more importantly, Israel of 1977 is in many ways (though not in all) comparable to Georgia of today. ISRAEL in 1977: 29 years since independence in 1948 Four years after the trauma of Yom Kippur War (1973) The first democratic transition after 2...
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Guest — Yuval Fuchs
one more highly recommended article by Erik ! I find his writing always stimulating. reading recommended ! Yuval Fuchs
Tuesday, 14 April 2015 2:02 PM
Guest — megiddo02
Regarding talent vs. diligence: In psychological research it turned out that work ethics, willpower, and discipline of a person pr... Read More
Wednesday, 15 April 2015 11:11 PM
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