On Friday July 15th, Professor David D. Friedman of Santa Clara University gave a presentation entitled “Market Failure Considered as an Argument both for and Against Government”. Professor Friedman is one of the leading libertarian thinkers in the USA and, together with Murray Rothbard, the most influential proponent of so-called anarcho-capitalism.

Before Friedman’s presentation, Professor Florian Biermann of ISET gave an introduction to libertarian political and economic ideologies and clarified some terms and concepts that later came up in Professor Friedman’s presentation. Professor Friedman himself started his presentation by briefly explaining the concept of market failure and showed that it provides arguments against both private markets and any political alternatives.

On June 14, Maksim Obrizan, a Professor of the Kiev School of Economics, gave a presentation entitled “The Impact of War on Happiness: The Case of Ukraine” at ISET. According to Mr. Obrizan, his work was influenced by cases and papers described in Frey and Stutzer (2002) and Stutzer and Frey (2012), and the impact of wars according to Blattman and Miguel (2010). This has become a particularly poignant topic for Professor Orbizan, as more than 100 Ukrainian soldiers have committed suicide since coming off the front line in the ongoing war against Russian-backed separatists. Previous papers on war and happiness suggest that in 44 countries, the intensity of the war reduces happiness (Welsh 2008).

On Monday June 13, ISET hosted Miranda Svanidze, an ISET graduate and current PhD student of Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Development in Transition Countries (IAMO). She gave a presentation entitled “Spatial Integration of Wheat Markets in the South Caucasus and Central Asia”.

The study examines the degree of integration of South Caucasian and Central Asian wheat markets with global wheat markets. The South Caucasian market is represented by Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan, while Kyrgyzstan represents Central Asia. All the countries of interest are dependent on wheat exports from the so-called Black Sea region, which consists of Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. The study is based on the national level monthly producer prices and export prices for the period of 2006-2014.

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