During the last three months, the Agricultural Policy Research Center (APRC) of ISET-PI was working on a study about family farming in Georgia. Within this project, we conducted interviews with farmers and owners of agribusinesses. These interviews elicited many intriguing facets of Georgian agriculture, but one aspect I found particularly interesting was that Georgian farmers apparently have a rather negative view o
Exporting the seeds of the Nordmann fir – a very popular species grown for Christmas trees – is a thriving and fiercely competitive Georgian industry, perhaps the only one in which Georgia has a near monopoly of the European market. According to an industry expert, more than 80% of all Christmas trees sold in Europe have their origin in Racha (Tlugi and Ambrolauri) and Borjomi forests. In 2013 Georgia exported more t
In October 2007, responding to the problem of very low birthrates in the country, Ilia II. of Georgia, the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, announced that he would personally baptize any third and subsequent child born to Orthodox families from that time onwards. This promise seems to have had a considerable impact on the reproduction behavior of Georgians. According to the National Statistics Office of Georgia (
Nodar Dumbadze has a reputation for bringing tears and laughs out of his readers. Yet, when watching his “Hellados” performed in the tiny municipal “Culture House” in Terjola, we were laughing and crying not only in appreciation of Dumbadze’s rare ability to weave tragedy and comedy into a single narrative. We were certainly moved by Dumbadze’s story of teenagers growing up in the tough multiethnic environment
Some weeks ago, I was invited by a development bank to the Hotel Eden in Kvareli, Kakheti, where we discussed Georgia’s possibilities to develop economically. When we talked about the potential of the manufacturing sector, one of the attending bank employees said: “The problem is that Georgia does not have Rudolf Diesel and Nikolaus Otto.” I think that there is some truth in this sentence, which one might alter so th
Recently, one of the authors of this article was crossing a street with a crowd of people at green pedestrian light close to Marjanishvili metro station, when a Mercedes was accelerating and heading towards the people, ignoring the red light, making the crowd splash in all directions. A police car was standing nearby, doing nothing. Walking and driving in Tbilisi is usually dangerous and stressful. When walking aroun
In the past two weeks Georgians have been waking up with a sense of déjà vu. In a matter of days, the Georgian currency lost over 8% of its value against the US dollar, and reversed the course of appreciation against the euro. The lari winter blues are reminiscent of the last months of 2013, when, after a long period of stability, the lari lost about 5% of its value against the dollar in the course of ten weeks. The
Any observer of the Georgian economy would probably agree that the country has too many people employed (or, rather, under-employed) in agriculture. Historically, many countries have experienced a secular decline in the share of employment (and GDP) related to the agricultural sector. Yet, Georgia has seen limited structural change out of agriculture (other than, perhaps, into seasonal or permanent labor migration).
One of the most puzzling aspects of the Georgian labor market is what is known as the “qualification mismatch”. While unemployment is high, many positions remain vacant due to a lack of qualified applicants. There is plenty of casual evidence that there is such a mismatch. Recently, a World Bank delegation we hosted at ISET reported about a meeting they had with Georgian entrepreneurs. One of those businessmen, activ
We are a team of young economists associated with the International School of Economics at Tbilisi State University. In our blog we write about Georgia, the South Caucasus and the world, from economic policy over economics and culture to everything else that deserves to be analyzed using the tools and the intuition of an economist.