ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
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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Recent Comments
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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Mar
26

What Happens When Institutions are Designed to Provide Bullet-proof Protection against Fraud?

DESIGNING LIBRARIES  “Shock and awe” is a US military term describing the use of overwhelming power to demoralize the enemy, as applied by the American military in Iraq. “Shock and awe” would also aptly describe my emotional state when I entered, at the age of 23, the magnificent reading room at the Bodleian Library in Oxford. This was the moment when I – a former paratrooper and an officer with one of Israel’s security services – understood how badly I want to acquire an education. Not technical knowledge or skills, but an education.    ...
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Guest — Simon Appleby
Co-op size of 3-5 members makes perfect sense for the current Georgian reality. People related by blood or marriage, who have long... Read More
Thursday, 26 March 2015 3:03 PM
Guest — Nikita
Coop growth diagnosticsCan you answer the following questions?1. Why do Georgian farmers form coops? Do they want to grow their bu... Read More
Friday, 27 March 2015 5:05 PM
Guest — Eric Livny
Thanks for asking these questions, Nikita... I like the approach of tacking the so-called binding constraint(s), which would of co... Read More
Friday, 27 March 2015 7:07 PM
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Feb
27

Making Sense of FDI Dynamics

Foreign direct investment (FDI) is critical to every developing county, and Georgia is no exception in this regard. Georgia wants to grow out of poverty and catch up with the economically more developed regions of the world – for this to happen, foreign resources are needed, in particular if the domestic savings rate is as low as in Georgia. Yet FDI is not only about the capital which is made available to the economy but also, and even more importantly, about trust foreigners have into the Georgian economy. It is one thing to make cheerful statements abo...
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Guest — RT
> Georgia counted profits generated by foreign-owned companies that were left within Georgia as FDI.That seems to be the correct w... Read More
Monday, 02 March 2015 7:07 PM
Guest — Mathias
Given your analysis, should we for the time being largely ignore FDI data as a relevant indicator for how Georgia is doing? A few ... Read More
Friday, 27 February 2015 2:02 PM
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Feb
20

Education for the Poor

Worldwide, cash transfer programs are used to fight poverty. Developing countries typically spend between 1% and 2% of GDP on cash transfers (“Cash Transfers: a Literature Review”, DFID Policy Division, 2011). International donors also invest substantially into such programs. The rationale for cash transfers goes beyond relieving short-run poverty. In their 2011 book Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty, eminent development economists Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo explain the approach as follows: People are poor bec...
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Guest — Helene Ryding
Economists tend to think that all money is the same. If you are poor, then you simply don't have enough, and are forced constantl... Read More
Friday, 20 February 2015 7:07 PM
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Dec
15

The Economics of Great Personalities

Some weeks ago, I was invited by a development bank to the Hotel Eden in Kvareli, Kakheti, where we discussed Georgia’s possibilities to develop economically. When we talked about the potential of the manufacturing sector, one of the attending bank employees said: “The problem is that Georgia does not have Rudolf Diesel and Nikolaus Otto.” I think that there is some truth in this sentence, which one might alter so that it fits better to modern times: “The problem is that Georgia does not have a Mark Zuckerberg/Steve Jobs/Bill Gates/Larry Page” or, to rem...
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Guest — RT
> If Einstein was born to smallholder farmers in Ethiopia, it is unlikely that his great potential would have materialized. I hear... Read More
Monday, 15 December 2014 12:12 PM
Guest — Florian
The problem is the vicious nepotism. If jobs are assigned primarily by connection, not by qualification, of course it is unattract... Read More
Tuesday, 23 December 2014 4:04 PM
Guest — Nino
Indeed, we need to get the institutional framework right.Unfortunately, today people, who could be great personalities do not have... Read More
Monday, 15 December 2014 12:12 PM
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Dec
12

Traffic Traumas

Recently, one of the authors of this article was crossing a street with a crowd of people at green pedestrian light close to Marjanishvili metro station, when a Mercedes was accelerating and heading towards the people, ignoring the red light, making the crowd splash in all directions. A police car was standing nearby, doing nothing. Walking and driving in Tbilisi is usually dangerous and stressful. When walking around, pedestrians must continuously monitor the cars in their vicinity, even when walking on the sidewalks. The task of avoiding to be hit by c...
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Guest — TTT
Well,to my knowledge we already have fines for both Pedestrians and Car Drivers and Cameras as well; The problem is enforcement of... Read More
Friday, 12 December 2014 2:02 PM
Guest — Nino
In fact, there has also been fines for pedestrians in Georgia and it was enforced in the years 2006-2007. However, for some reason... Read More
Friday, 12 December 2014 5:05 PM
Guest — Eric Livny
Thank you for your comment, Nino! Publicly shaming reckless drivers would be an excellent component of the overall policy solution... Read More
Saturday, 13 December 2014 11:11 AM
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