ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Feb
06

Decent Income in Old Age: Georgian Dream or Reality?

If you visit any post-Soviet country after spending some time in the West, one thing strikes you immediately: the average age of visible poverty. Not only are you more likely to see old people begging on the streets, but old people are also dressed more poorly, and tend to buy the cheapest things on the market. Georgia is no exception. The main source of income for most Georgian elderly is the state pension. The level of benefits is extremely low and can barely lift people up above the poverty line. And yet, for many households, state pension is the only...
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Eric Livny
We will all get old, and much sooner than some of us fancy :-(
Monday, 08 February 2016 7:07 AM
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Nov
16

Less Bureaucracy Is Good, But Not Good Enough!

“Why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up” – Thomas Wayne to his son (Batman).   The Georgian Government’s pride and joy of the previous years has been its high standing in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index. Investors, policymakers, and economy-watchers around the world have opened editions of magazines like The Economist to see full-page advertisements about why Georgia is ‘different’ among Post-Soviet countries when it comes to doing business. A line such as “Georgia is different because we are the World Bank’s ...
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Eric Livny
A little funny story about Azerbaijan's progress in Doing Business. A few years ago, I was able to benefit from Azerbijan's invest... Read More
Monday, 16 November 2015 12:12 PM
Guest — FadyAsly
Great article! Cannot agree more on the shortfalls of the methodology, in addition to the parameters you mention and that need to ... Read More
Wednesday, 16 November 2016 4:04 AM
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Jun
29

Why Armenia Is Not (Yet) Ukraine?

  Yerevan is presently rife with protest. Dubbed “Electric Yerevan,” the protests are aptly named considering that they began as a result of Armenia’s government succumbing to demands by the country’s electricity distribution monopoly (Electric Network of Armenia (ENA)) to raise regulated tariffs by 16.7% as of 1 August, 2015. ENA is owned by Inter RAO UES, a Russian energy giant, giving rise to suggestions that Armenian officials are effectively serving Russian interests. Yet, the hike in electricity prices, which the government had initially resis...
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Guest — David Lee
I think that there is a danger of viewing all political and economic problems in the wider region, let use the Eastern Partnership... Read More
Monday, 29 June 2015 8:08 AM
Guest — Mikayel Badalyan
Thank you Eric, now I got exactly the point you mean.I would not agree with You, as the mentality of each nation is different. In ... Read More
Tuesday, 30 June 2015 11:11 AM
Guest — Eric Livny
You know, babies typically love chocolate and new iPhones, and hate school, etc. Often they need to be disciplined. Now, some moth... Read More
Tuesday, 30 June 2015 11:11 AM
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Jun
26

The Brutal Revolution

  When offered the ISET director job back in March 2007, I did not think twice. Everything I’ve read about Georgia until then was incredibly positive. Livable, hospitable, beautiful, corruption free, etc. etc. The latter part sounded particularly promising given that during my last days in Moscow (I lived and worked in Moscow from 1993 till 2007) I had my brand new BMW motorbike stolen in broad daylight by a local police officer (sic!) who knew that I am about to leave the country and probably thought that there would be no use for motorbikes on Geo...
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Guest — Florian Biermann
I am surprised about this article. Based on its title, I thought this would be a piece slamming the reforms of the old government.... Read More
Tuesday, 14 July 2015 6:06 PM
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Jun
08

The Ukrainian Malaise: Will Georgians Save the Day?

When Georgia ran into a conflict with its northern neighbor in 2008, it experienced considerable solidarity on part of its main Western ally. The United States supplied military transporters to fly back Georgian troops from Afghanistan, which was correctly understood by the Russians as a warning that the US would not allow Georgia to fall. While the Russians had already taken Gori, Condoleeza Rice and Michail Saakashvili held a joint press conference in Tbilisi, just 80 km away. Surprised by the American determination to defend small Georgia, the Russian...
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Guest — Megiddo
Eric, the nice thing about this dispute is that we can just wait and see who was right . Relatively soon we will know the performa... Read More
Monday, 08 June 2015 10:10 PM
Guest — Eric Livny
I don't think the Western treatment was all that different. There were no (and will not be) NATO boots on the ground in either Geo... Read More
Monday, 08 June 2015 9:09 AM
Guest — Lasha Lanchava
It reads like a post-mortem justification of what you call a pragmatic approach (And I know you are doing it out of curiosity, wit... Read More
Monday, 08 June 2015 10:10 AM
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May
25

The Proposed Examination Reform: Don’t Change a Winning Concept!

Studying at Georgian universities in the 1990’s was ludicrous. The students or their parents negotiated with the heads of the exam committees and/or the deans of the faculties about the “terms and conditions”, i.e. the bribes that would have to be paid and the “services” that would be delivered in exchange. One could choose from a broad menu of different corruptive services, covering admissions, grades, and scholarships, and the price one had to pay varied according to what one had chosen. The law of supply and demand caused highly demanded professions l...
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