ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.

Moratorium on Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land. Xenophobia, Myopia or what?

On June 28, the Georgian Parliament passed a bill imposing a moratorium on land acquisition by foreigners and foreign-owned legal entities till the end of 2014. The bill effectively reversed an earlier policy that welcomed foreigners to settle and invest in Georgia’s agricultural sector, a policy culminating in the seemingly outlandish program seeking to bring to Georgia – and offer fast-track naturalization to – dozens of expert farmers from South Africa. Rattled by this policy reversal, groups representing the expat business community in Georgia are tr...
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Guest — Hans Gutbrod
thanks, Eric, for this thoughtful piece. I agree, there does need to be a strategy, not just buying time. One aspect that would be... Read More
Friday, 13 September 2013 10:10 AM
Guest — MM
Great article, although it would be interesting to read about the benefits of the moratorium.
Friday, 13 September 2013 11:11 AM
Guest — Simon Appleby
The implications are the moratorium are profound. It throws the rural financial sector into disarray as most banks and microfinanc... Read More
Friday, 13 September 2013 2:02 PM
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Yellow Moving Saunas in the Streets of Tbilisi: A Tragedy

  Tbilisi public transportation resembles a classic Greek tragedy. In those pieces, usually the gods interfere with human affairs and create a big mess. In Tbilisi, marshrutkas were operating in a competitive market and state intervention led to the creation of a monopoly. In Greek tragedies, once the fateful events have started, the tension increases more and more until the story reaches its climax – the showdown between the hero and his adversary. In the Tbilisi marshrutka business, the prices increase more and more and, while the quality of servi...
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Guest — Hans Gutbrod
well, they didn't exactly have air conditioning before the yellow buses were introduced. Still, I enjoyed the post. I'd be interes... Read More
Friday, 19 July 2013 6:06 PM
Guest — Michael
Jumpstart had some numbers on their blog at
Friday, 19 July 2013 7:07 PM
Guest — Dace
I agree with Hans, I prefer the monopoly situation to the free market as a consumer. The yellow marshrutkas are far better than th... Read More
Wednesday, 24 July 2013 11:11 AM
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Correcting Unemployment Numbers – A Call for Government Action

There are many pressing challenges and issues that command the attention of people interested in politics in Georgia. Some of these issues are emotionally charged, and there is not necessarily a consensus across society. However, there is one issue on which there should be a consensus, and it matters tremendously to the Georgian people. This is the issue of unemployment, and more specifically, unemployment numbers. According to a recent survey that CRRC conducted for NDI, Georgians consider unemployment to be the most pressing issue.    The pr...
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Guest — M
There is merit to use the ILO definition, but at the same time it would be helpful to report other measures of un-or under-employm... Read More
Friday, 07 June 2013 4:04 PM
Guest — George Welton
FYI - the 15% number is the result of one very specific question on the Integrated Household Survey that GeoStat conducts every 3... Read More
Friday, 07 June 2013 2:02 PM
Guest — Heghine Manasyan
The data from the article show that the findings by GORBI and GEOSTAT are similar. According to the latter the share of unemployed... Read More
Saturday, 08 June 2013 2:02 PM
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Institutions, Politics, and Development

How can a society become more prosperous? This question has been on the minds of economists and policymakers for centuries. More than two hundred years ago, Adam Smith wrote that “little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice, all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things.” Yet, still today, many societies around the world are characterized not by peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice, but by c...
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Guest — Vusal Mammadrzayev
Adam, you mentioned that the weak institutions, less transparency and political instability is the main constraint in the economic... Read More
Tuesday, 15 January 2013 9:09 PM
Guest — NP
I like a lot this piece. Actually, I believe Georgia went through a very active process of modernization in many areas under the p... Read More
Thursday, 17 January 2013 11:11 AM
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Rule of Law and Property Rights, the Economics Perspective

“Don’t rush to judgment on Georgia” was the title of a recent article by Michael Cecire in Foreign Policy (FP). Written in an apparent reaction to “Georgian Dream shows its dark side” (FP, November 29), and “Georgia’s government takes a wrong turn” (Washington Post, November 28), Cecire’s piece attempts to provide a more objective account of the situation. According to Cecire, “the Western outcry has been much too hasty. Ultimately, it's not the arrests [of senior UNM officials] themselves that will test the new government's commitment to democratic idea...
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Guest — Nodar
Dear Eric, I think your article is marvelous! But I have lived for 15 years in Romania and I believe situation is quite different ... Read More
Friday, 21 December 2012 8:08 PM
Guest — Investing in Georgia: An Emerging Economy? | The Business Strategy Blog
[...] I’m looking into both of these investments at the moment. Fascinatingly an ROI of 20% doesn’t attract local investors as the... Read More
Saturday, 29 December 2012 6:06 PM
Guest — Eric
Florian, I agree that there is an element of speculation regarding the link between high interest rates and property rights. Howev... Read More
Saturday, 29 December 2012 11:11 PM
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Price Stability: the Lull before the Storm?

During the past 18 months, Georgian consumers have been enjoying an unprecedented period of price stability. Ever since May 2011, when inflation peaked given the state of frenzy in the global commodity markets, inflation has literally come to a halt: since early 2012, monthly inflation rates are fluctuating around the zero trend. In fact, Consumer Price Index (CPI) is slightly lower today (153) than in January 2012 (153.8), and only 0.1% higher than in October 2011 (152.8). THE STORM IS COMING! A spate of worrisome news is hitting the Georgian media sin...
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Guest — Florian
Do economists really have two hands? That's how they seem themselves... but in reality? Paul Krugman - two hands? Nouriel Roubini ... Read More
Friday, 16 November 2012 3:03 PM
Guest — Eric
But, Florian, why blame the economists? First, they are all two-handed species (on the one hand, on the other hand, etc.). Second... Read More
Thursday, 15 November 2012 6:06 PM
Guest — Florian
Highly interesting analysis of the problems facing Georgia under the new government. Indeed, one problem of the democratic system ... Read More
Thursday, 15 November 2012 11:11 AM
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