ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.

William Nordhaus’ Models – a Dubious Equation for the Climate Debate

In preparation for the COP24 climate change conference in Poland, in December 2018, researchers published a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) outlining how significant the consequences of climate change would be following a global increase in temperature of just a half degree, from 1.5 to 2 degrees C. In the wake of the newly released IPCC report, alongside William Nordhaus’ Nobel Memorial award, this year’s winner in economics, a heated debate has surfaced. This has come about not only with the instigators in Sweden publis...
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Holiday Gifts Are Extremely Inefficient, So Why Do We Bother?

Today and tomorrow over a third of the world’s population (around 2 billion people) will be celebrating Christmas1. Traditionally, the holiday season will inevitably feature an exchange of gifts. The sums spent on Christmas gift-giving are huge! For example, in 2018 the expected spending on Christmas gifts in the United States is around 885 USD per person2 - this is about 2.8% of what someone in the middle of income distribution earns per year. If we work backwards from these figures and assume that a similar share of an average family’s income is devote...
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Recent Comments
Guest — EricLivny
A very nice piece, Yasya! From now on, dont expect any cash from me!
Friday, 11 January 2019 4:04 PM
Guest — Yasya
Thanks, Eric! Of course! In the old days books were considered the best gifts to give to friends and family. I dont know why this... Read More
Monday, 14 January 2019 7:07 AM
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Pursuing Real Growth: The Importance of This Year’s Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for the Planet and for Us

This year has plagued a number of countries with tremendous natural disasters and extreme weather events. Greece was challenged with extensive fires and South Africa with a shortage of water. As late as November this year, the US was still struggling to tame forest fires. Something is certainly happening with the climate. These problems arise from society only been concerned with growth. The issue is that for far too long we have been assuming that economic growth has no impact on the climate and, more generally, on nature. It is especially concerning th...
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Behavioral Economics of New Year’s Resolutions

“January is always a good month for behavioral economics: Few things illustrate self-control as vividly as New Year's resolutions. February is even better, though, because it lets us study why so many of those resolutions are broken.” Sendhil Mullainathan, Harvard University. It is that time of a year when we take time to reflect upon our flaws and weaknesses to find areas where we can make positive changes for the New Year. In our imagination, there is an old self who we will leave behind on the New Year’s Eve, and we will welcome our new 2018 self, hea...
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How Can We Revitalize the Struggling Georgian Agricultural Sector?

LEFT BEHIND Between 1990 and 1994, the Georgian economy experienced one of the sharpest declines in economic activity in recent history, with GDP per capita falling by more than 70 percent. Since then, however, especially after 2003, it has been growing quite fast, with the Georgian GDP per capita overtaking the 1990 level in 2013. However, the Georgian agricultural sector, in the same period, has been characterized by a quite different trend, as shown in Figure 1. Figure 1. GDP Per Capita and Agriculture Value Added as a Share of GDP During the crisis ...
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Pati Mamardashvili
I think that the capitalizing input vouchers in land values was not a huge problem for Georgia (not comparable with some other cri... Read More
Wednesday, 18 January 2017 5:05 PM
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Georgia in the Cycle of History

The second of May, 2015, may well go unnoticed by historians of the future; but I am convinced that it marks a watershed not only in Georgia’s recent evolution – but also, maybe, in the history of our times... On the surface of life, this Saturday marked maybe the Saturday when tourists finally returned to Tbilisi. At about 2 p.m. spotted a group of about thirty Dutch tourists assembling near the Marriot Courtyard hotel; and there were two further groups moving slowly down the sidewalks of Leselidze Street. Maintaining the festive note, the converted Lon...
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Guest — mfmsm
1 May was the day that the Georgian Parliament introduced a new provision into the visa and migration legislation of Georgia 'maki... Read More
Saturday, 16 May 2015 10:10 PM
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