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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Dec
05

When Good Intentions Lead to Bad Outcomes. Tree-Cutting Regulations in Tbilisi

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. Saint Bernard of Clairvaux As economic development progresses, air pollution and the lack of green spaces have become increasingly painful issues for Tbilisi citizens. In our previous blog, Breathing in Tbilisi, we discussed the negative outcomes – in terms of air pollution and tree-cutting – generated by the actions of self-interested developers facing an inert civil society and a local government that is unwilling and/or unable to protect green public spaces. While that is a classic example of market fa...
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Oct
03

Breathing in Tbilisi

Tempelhofer Feld is a beloved communal recreation area of Berliners. Tempelhofer Feld is not just a park. It is a park built instead of an airport. In 2008, when the almost century old Tempelhofer airport was closed, the city of Berlin declared the centrally located, 386-hectare (!) open space for public use. Today, the area has a six-kilometer cycling, skating and jogging trail, a 2.5-hectare barbeque area, a dog-walking field covering around four hectares, and an enormous picnic area for visitors – everything we, Tbilisi citizens, can only dream of. Ju...
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Irakli Shalikashvili
I totally agree with the author about Georgian citizens. The majority simply just does not care about the environment they live in... Read More
Tuesday, 13 December 2016 12:12 PM
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Jun
25

High Wages not Walls

People who decide to leave their country and test their luck elsewhere are usually no random sample of a population. In his 1987 paper “Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants” (American Economic Review 77, pp. 531-553), Harvard Political Scientist George J. Borjas discusses the so-called self-selection of migrants. As of 1987, the standard view among migration economists was that migrants, at least those who came to the United States, belonged to the “upper tails” of the income distributions in their home countries. As income reflects economic per...
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Martin Smith
Quite interesting but do you mean two minimum wages? One already in place; a second (lower} one for migrants? With a special categ... Read More
Saturday, 25 June 2016 6:06 PM
Eric Livny
No, Martin, he proposes a single minimum wage for immigrants to be set ABOVE the average wage in a host society. In this way he ho... Read More
Sunday, 26 June 2016 3:03 AM
Eric Livny
An interesting proposal, but I am not sure it really solves the problem it purports to solve. First, one has to distinguish betwee... Read More
Sunday, 26 June 2016 4:04 AM
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Jan
25

If Moscow Can Beat the Traffic, So Can Tbilisi!

When I left Russia back in late 2006, attempting to cross a busy Moscow street bordered on suicide. Instead of slowing down before a zebra crossing, Russian drivers were in the habit of accelerating so as to signal their intention NOT to stop. Understandably, pedestrians had no choice but to adjust their street crossing strategies accordingly. The result was what an economist might call a “bad” equilibrium. Moscow drivers would not even consider letting pedestrians cross. And pedestrians would not even try.  When visiting Moscow for the New Year hol...
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Hans Gutbrod
A wonderful example of why you kind of have to stick with the bad equilibrium: I nearly got an elderly lady killed a few weeks ago... Read More
Tuesday, 26 January 2016 1:01 PM
Guest — JanFidrmuc
I didn't find crossing the road in Tbilisi much more of a challenge than in other Eastern European cities. Now that could have thr... Read More
Tuesday, 26 January 2016 2:02 PM
Eric Livny
Jan, thanks for your comment. Your option (1) does not seem plausible. (2) and (3) do apply. I am also quite assertive when crossi... Read More
Tuesday, 26 January 2016 3:03 PM
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Jan
23

Mandatory Flour Fortification in Georgia: a Boon or a Burden for the Poor?

We are what we eat – in the near future Georgians are likely to be reminded of this universal truth.   Soon the Georgian Parliament will be discussing a small but important change, which will affect something as significant and vital as bread, along with pasta, khachapuri and anything made with wheat flour. The Georgian legislators will be considering a law, according to which flour fortification will become mandatory in Georgia. Mandatory food fortification is a contentious issue. The proponents of the law argue that this change is a great way to d...
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Guest — PatiMamardashvili
I agree with the author that flour fortification might correct some nutritional deficiencies which seem to be quite prevalent amon... Read More
Saturday, 30 January 2016 7:07 PM
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Nov
29

On Education and the Sacred Duty of Defending One’s Motherland

GEORGIA’S ‘DEAD SOULS’? Rati, Lasha and Irakli are first year engineering students at the Georgian Technical University (GTU). Rather unusual students, one should add. At 22-23, all three are very much alive. Yet, they never attend classes and are not taking exams. BSc in engineering would be their third educational degree, yet neither one of them has any intention of completing his studies at GTU. And one more interesting detail: their ‘studies’ at GTU are paid for by the Georgian taxpayers because engineering (as well as mathematics and natural science...
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Florian Biermann
The points made in the article are 100% right. Why is it so difficult to reform an obviously dysfunctional system??
Monday, 07 March 2016 5:05 PM
Nodar
Great blog post professor. I agree everything. Its clear that this is Georgias reality but if we dig further we will find some ter... Read More
Tuesday, 22 March 2016 5:05 PM
Eric Livny
Thank you, dear Nodar! I can write long articles on this subject, but it is ultimately a problem for the Georgian people to resolv... Read More
Tuesday, 22 March 2016 5:05 PM
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