ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
May
27

Short-Term Swings of the Georgian Lari: A Guessing Game with High Stakes

In the last two weeks lari depreciated, once again, against the US dollar. Georgian currency lost about eight tetri against its American counterpart, causing quite a stir in the media, among political groups and economic experts. While government authorities claimed that the recent developments are short-term fluctuations driven by negative expectations, Turkish lira depreciation, dollar’s global strengthening, and are therefore not connected to the fundamentals of the Georgian economy, the members of opposition were quick to blame incompetent fiscal and...
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Apr
26

Granted Survival!

Various business support programs have been implemented in many countries across the world. Grants, interest-rate subsidies, and equity participation are among some of the most adopted tools for promoting firms’ performances (Dupont and Martin, 2006). Such assistance programs also have their own objectives. For example, low-interest rate loans and cash transfers to new and small firms are designed to overcome the financial constraints many firms face (Hubbard, 1998). Moreover, these programs may aim to help firms adopt new technologies (Bronzini and Pise...
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Apr
15

The “Achilles’ Heel” of Georgia’s Agriculture – Incomplete Land Registration

“We often preoccupy ourselves with the symptoms, whereas if we went to the root cause of the problems, we would be able to overcome the problems once and for all” – Wangari Muta Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize Winner in 2004. LAND FRAGMENTATION – THE ROOT CAUSE “Commercialization of farmers can happen only if land consolidation occurs and farmers benefit from economies of scale” – Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, Giorgi Kobulia stated at the Rural Conference 2019 held in Tbilisi last week. According to the latest agriculture census ...
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Apr
12

Red or Blue!

Have you ever wondered why the color of the United National Movement (UNM) is red while Georgian Dream (GD) is blue? Why not green and orange? It might be that red and blue offer a contrast, and they also symbolize quite different things.1 And, contrast is indeed what they each seek. These two parties have dominated Georgian politics since 2012, and it is now difficult to recall the subject they built a consensus around or even one that they have tried to discuss. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), in its report on the 2018 ...
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Mar
29

Net-Metering: A Realistic Green Solution to the Generation-Consumption Deficit?

In February 2019, Georgian power plants generated 939 million kWh of electricity, which compared to the previous year represents a 0.5% increase in total generation. On the demand side, consumption amounted to 1,037 mln. kWh, a 2% decrease on an annual basis. Although the negative gap between generation and consumption decreased by 22% (from -126 to -98 mln. kWh), compared to the corresponding month of the previous year, it remained substantial. It is worth highlighting, once again, that this negative gap does not wholly reveal the extent of dependence o...
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Mar
22

One Small Step for a Man, Big Data for Mankind: Uses of Alternative Data Sources in Tourism Development

There are many mesmerizing buildings in Tbilisi, but do you know which one tourists favor the most? Or have you ever wondered what travelers’ favorite Georgian food or wine is? Thanks to modern tools and data-gathering methods, we now have actual proof that khachapuri is tourists’ all-time favorite Georgian dish. In 2018, the Georgian National Tourism Administration (GNTA), along with Communication Agency Windfor’s, launched a campaign called  “Emotions are Georgia” to determine what foreign tourists admire the most in our beautiful country and whic...
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