ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Jun
01

Is Small (And Medium) All That Beautiful?

  Most development practitioners subscribe to the view that vibrant small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) are crucial for the health of a country’s economy. The SME sector is crucial, the argument goes, because it creates employment and serves as a hotbed of entrepreneurial talent. Additionally, SMEs are often seen as a source of new, fast growing industries, contributing to a price-reducing and quality-improving competition with large and old firms that tend to dominate markets in small countries such as Georgia. For example, a 2011 report prepa...
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Recent Comments
Guest — Simon Appleby
Rezo Vashakidze's statement about 50% of the population being smallholder farmers is out of date. According to the last census, on... Read More
Monday, 01 June 2015 9:09 AM
Guest — Eric Livny
The point I was trying to make in this article – but perhaps failed – is NOT that Georgia does not need SMEs. My point is that the... Read More
Monday, 01 June 2015 12:12 PM
Guest — Angela Prigozhina
1. I do agree that distribution of subsidies to agriculture subsistence farmers has nothing to do with productivity growth and job... Read More
Monday, 01 June 2015 2:02 PM
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Apr
27

The US and Georgia: Finding the Common Denominator

At ISET we teach graduate economics, which uses the mathematical language to analyze economic behavior (“microeconomics”) and macroeconomic systems. Being based in Tbilisi, we heavily depend on “upstream” Georgian educational institutions, such as schools and undergraduate departments at TSU and elsewhere. Unfortunately, the level of quantitative literacy among the Georgian youth leaves much to be desired, which says something about the quality of educational programs they go through before arriving to ISET. The vast majority of our future students come ...
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Guest — mfmsm
The challenge is very interesting. It is due to the arrogance of systems that this has come about.
Tuesday, 28 April 2015 8:08 AM
Guest — megiddo02
This article touches on a painful issue. Georgians prefer to study law, international relations, psychology, or humanities -- all ... Read More
Tuesday, 28 April 2015 11:11 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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Apr
06

Georgian Tangerines

The Estonian-Georgian film, Tangerines, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2014. While the film was shot in Guria, the story takes place in Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia during the war in the early 1990s. In the film, two of the main characters are peasants from Estonia who are living and working in Abkhazia, one as a tangerine grower and the other as a manufacturer of wooden crates for transporting tangerines to markets (much like the one in the photo above). Unlike their families and neighbors, these two men ...
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Guest — Eric Livny
There is an interesting analogy between Israel-Palestine and Georgia-Abkhazia economic relations. An Israeli company (Agrexco) is ... Read More
Monday, 06 April 2015 2:02 PM
Guest — Rati
Dear Fady, thanks for your comment! Area of Georgia is a really limit of not only sub-tropical fruits, but also for many agricult... Read More
Tuesday, 07 April 2015 11:11 AM
Guest — Fady Asly
I doubt it a lot! Georgia is at the extreme limit of sub-tropical fruits production zone! The yields will always be inferior to pr... Read More
Tuesday, 07 April 2015 12:12 AM
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Apr
01

President Margvelashvili and Cartu Foundation Unveil Plans to Usher a New Era in Georgia’s Public Schooling

April 1, 2015 A little-known experiment launched in 2009 is about to revolutionize Georgia’s countryside. “Teach for Georgia (TG)” [1] is a small program administered by the National Center for Teachers’ Professional Development, seeking to stream new blood into the public education system. With a tiny annual budget of 212,000 GEL, TG was initially conceived as a publically funded “startup”, an attempt to think and act out-of-the box. Though starting small and mainly focusing on schools in remote mountain communities, TG has always been seen as potential...
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Guest — Y
Great, where do I sign up?.... But I am worried - what if I spend a year in the mountains and still can't redefine my purpose in l... Read More
Thursday, 02 April 2015 12:12 AM
Guest — megiddo02
I fully agree with the message of the article -- radical, groundbreaking reforms are needed in Georgia's school system.The specifi... Read More
Thursday, 02 April 2015 5:05 PM
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Mar
30

Does it Make Sense to Subsidize Smallholder Georgian Agriculture, and if so How?

While Georgia never faced anything like a wartime food crisis, the agricultural policies implemented by the Georgian Dream coalition government in 2013-2015 did not lack in ambition, seeking to make up for more than a decade of “active neglect” of Georgia’s smallholder agriculture by the Saakashvili administration. In this piece, we take a critical look at one of the first government initiatives, the Agricultural Card Program, introduced in February 2013.  According to the then Minister of Agriculture David Kirvalidze, the program aimed to “revive G...
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Guest — Eric Livny
Thanks for the question, Humph! We don't have any evidence and, in fact, are not claiming that "the growth in cultivated areas and... Read More
Tuesday, 31 March 2015 1:01 PM
Guest — Salome
Thank you for your question. Majority of respondents claimed increase in output and sown areas, but you would probably agree, that... Read More
Tuesday, 31 March 2015 2:02 PM
Guest — Humph Abbott
Hi Eric and team. What evidence do you have to justify the assumption implicit in your first and second charts and supporting text... Read More
Monday, 30 March 2015 7:07 PM
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