ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Oct
12

To Subsidize or Not to Subsidize Georgia’s Wine Sector?

“Rtveli 2020” – a traditional vintage and rural harvest holiday in Georgia accompanied by feasts, musical events and other celebrations started on August 26. This year, the Government of Georgia (GoG) is subsidizing the grape harvest to support growers in selling their products. 0.3 GEL of the total 0.8 GEL per kg of Rkatsiteli or Kakhuri Mtsvane is subsidized. In the case of extreme necessity, the GoG will be involved in the purchase of grapes as well. Supporting the wine sector is part of the anti-crisis plan to handle the economic challenges caused by...
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Oct
05

COVID-19 Strikes Again: How the Pandemic is Affecting Georgia’s Energy Security

  Many of us well-remember the cold winter of 2006 when the Russian Federation cut its natural gas supply to Georgia. In general, it is clear that diversification in energy import markets reduces the risk of socio-economic shocks following political tensions with other countries. Fortunately, Georgia managed to find an alternative to the Russian supply and started importing gas from Azerbaijan. This blog will review the current gas import situation and discuss the expected trends in natural gas supply security. As Yergin (2006) notes, the primary fa...
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Sep
28

Agritourism in Georgia

Imagine spending some time in the countryside away from the noisy, dusty city, getting involved in agricultural activities, and discovering the local culture. This kind of tourism is called agritourism. According to the World Tourism Organization’s data, tourist options in rural areas are increasing. According to specialists, this tendency is caused by middle aged people’s interest in spending their vacations in a quiet environment with less air pollution. This kind of tourism is financially more available and particularly suited to short vacations becau...
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Sep
21

The Post-COVID Foreign Direct Investment in Georgia: go clean, or don’t go!

Governments around the world are racing against the clock to help communities damaged by the economic fallout of COVID-19. Eager to bring good news to their constituents, they are brokering deals likely to bring employment and much needed international investments. Georgia, of course, is no exception. Recent FDI projects include a plastics processing plant with a stated capacity to employ 400 local workers in plastic waste recycling jobs and the associated sections of the supply chain. In crises years, creation of jobs via FDI sounds absolutely great. Bu...
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Sep
14

Labor Market Reform: Is the Glass Half Full or Half Empty?

On the 5th of August, a list of planned legislative amendments for regulating the functioning of the labor market passed their second reading in parliament. These amendments, which are also likely to pass their third and final reading in coming weeks, are expected to improve workers’ protection. Among the areas expected to see significant changes are: • maximum number of working hours; • mandatory weekly rest time; • breaks between shifts; • regulation of internships, part-time work, and nightshifts; • maternity/parental rights; • mandate and powers of t...
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Sep
07

New Old Chavchavadze Avenue – Putting the Horse Ahead of the Cart?

Preface: Imagine a Tbilisi where the Mayor rides a municipal bus, a football star passes you on a scooter, and your favorite guitar player locks up his bike at the entrance to a restaurant; not because they don’t have fancy cars (they do!), but because they believe these alternatives are healthier, more environmentally friendly, greener, and more convenient.  This really sounds like a European city! One issue on the tip of everyone’s tongue these days in Tbilisi—along with August holidays and the risks of COVID-19—is the newly-rehabilitated Chavchav...
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