Back Friday | 03 October, 2008
Focus on non-oil tax policy as oil revenues predicted to decline
The IMF has recently published its analysis of the developments in non-oil tax policy, administration and revenues in Azerbaijan. Non-oil tax policy could be an important tool in stimulating the development of non-oil sectors of the country’s economy.
In 2007 the oil sector accounted for over the half of the country’s GDP. Last year 62% of FDI went to the oil industry. While the non-oil sector is reported to grow by 15.6% during the first half of 2008, the oil sector remains the major source of budgetary revenue.
The IMF has warned previously that the growth rates in Azerbaijan are expected to decline significantly after 2010, once oil production passes its peak period. Even though this forecast was later refuted by some experts, who believe that the oil potential of the deep-water oil fields has not been fully explored yet, the importance of development of the non-oil sectors is widely recognized.
The decline of oil production will directly affect the revenue from the tax collection. Although the non-oil tax revenues have been steadily increasing since 2003 (see the chart below), the collection level still is below its potential. Several reforms aimed at modernizing the tax administration were implemented. Still, the wide-spread underground economy adversely affects the level of tax revenue. To broaden the tax base, the IMF recommends to reduce tax exemptions and benefits, and to make the tax privilege procedures more transparent. Also, to increase compliance, tax regulations, as well as all instructions and forms must be simplified and made easy to understanding of all taxpayers. The author of the report also recommends to reduce direct tax rates and to apply a unified rate to personal and corporate income. Tax and custom administration in general must be strengthened. The paper is available at the IMF website.
Source: IMF 2008
Source: IMF 2008
12.10.2015 | Monday
By Zaur Shiriyev
[Editor's note: This is the fourth in a series of blog posts co-published with On Think Tanks. The views expressed within this blog series are the authors alone, and do not represent the views of CRRC-Georgia.]
By Zaur Shiriyev
The development of local think tanks in Azerbaijan has taken a different route to that followed by most other post-Soviet states and Eastern European countries. In the Eastern Bloc countries, research institutes modeled on Western think tanks became increasingly popular following the collapse of the Soviet Union. However, in Azerbaijan this did not happen, largely due to domestic political developments in the early 1990s.
29.09.2015 | Tuesday [Editor's note: This is the second in a series of blog posts co-published with On Think Tanks. The views expressed within this blog series are the authors alone, and do not represent the views of CRRC-Georgia.]
Interview by Dustin Gilbreath
Interview by Dustin Gilbreath
Dustin Gilbreath: You recently recently pointed out that think tanks in the South Caucasus have come a long way in recent years, but that they still face challenges on some of the fundamentals – quality of research, policy relevance, funding, and operational acumen. At the national rather than regional level, what are the relative strengths of and challenges before the think tank sector of each country?
28.09.2015 | Monday
By: Dustin Gilbreath
[Editor's note: This is the first in a series of blog posts co-published with On Think Tanks. The views expressed within this blog series are the authors alone, and do not represent the views of CRRC-Georgia]
By: Dustin Gilbreath
Starting from similarly troubled slates at the turn of independence, the South Caucasus countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia – have diverged over the last 25 years, and the region is an interesting case of divergence despite similarity. While in Azerbaijan the government is squeezing the last bit of free expression from the country, Georgia is having its problems but is by far the freest place in the region. Armenia still has space for engagement, but it is not as open as Georgia.
27.07.2015 | Monday This blog post looks at the World Bank’s STEP data for Armenia and Georgia, which CRRC collected in 2013, to see how people are finding work, their confidence that they have the skills needed to find work, and how they feel their education prepares them for work.
30.06.2015 | Tuesday
CRRC’s third annual Methodological Conference: Transformations in the South Caucasus and its Neighbourhood
The third annual CRRC methodological conference took place on June 26 and 27 at Rooms Hotel, Tbilisi. With over 50 participants and a packed program of presentations, workshops, and speeches the conference drew together policy practitioners and researchers from the South Caucasus and beyond.
03.04.2015 | Friday
This blog post explored the attitudes of Azerbaijanis towards gender roles, and whether these have changed over time. It showed that there is a cross-generational continuum in the defined gendered character of the activities children and teenagers have been taught to perform.
23.03.2015 | Monday
When we started this blog, quite a few years ago, we published a few posts, and didn't tell anyone about it. We weren't sure whether the venture would work – and whether it was a good fit for ourselves. Now, with this 500th post, I'm glad to see that our tentative venture took off.
02.03.2015 | Monday
Deserving to be beaten and tolerating violence: Attitudes towards violence against women in Azerbaijan
This blog post looks into how the attitudes of the representatives of various socio-demographic groups differ towards these two statements, which are jointly referred to as “violence against women”.
11.02.2015 | Wednesday This blog post is based on research on (dis)trust in political institutions in Azerbaijan. Internationally, levels of trust in political institutions often reflect how well these institutions perform in relation to citizens’ expectations.
01.10.2013 | Tuesday Azerbaijan is arguably one of the most secular countries in the Muslim world. Nearly seven decades of official atheist policy as part of the Soviet Union, along with isolation from the rest of the non-Soviet Muslim world, diminished Islam's position in the country. According to many, including .salamnews.org/ru/news/read/39100/gadi-shaxin-gasanli-laquoprivyazannost-lyudey-k-...
31.12.2012 | Monday Values and traditions can shape the ways in which people behave and perceive themselves and others within and across societies. Drawing on data from the 2012 Survey on Social Capital, Media, and Gender in Azerbaijan and the 2011 Survey on Social Cohesion in Armenia, this blog explores different values that, according to Azerbaijanis and Armenians, characterize contemporary Azerbaijani and Armenian...
16.12.2012 | Sunday From 2009 to 2011, Gallup conducted surveys in over 150 countries to compare how people feel about their lives and what emotions they experience during the day. Based on these surveys, Singapore was considered as the least emotional society (ranked 1st) out of 151 countries surveyed, while the Phil...
05.12.2012 | Wednesday Islamic revival on the societal level has become a much-touted subject in Azerbaijan in recent years. Ongoing controversy over an informal state ban on hijabs in the country's public education institutions, along with a number of recent gove...
28.11.2012 | Wednesday This blog looks at public attitudes on whether or not speaking the titular language, belonging to the predominant religion or sharing national values are perceived as necessary to be a member of Armenian or Azerbaijani society. Data from the 2012 survey on Social Capital, Media and Gender conducted in Azerbaijan and the 2011 survey on Social Cohesion conducted in Armenia show that sharing nati...
13.11.2012 | Tuesday Civic engagement in the former Soviet Union has been - with some exceptions - quite low since the breakup of the USSR. Data from the 2012 Social Capital, Media and Gender Survey suggest that Azerbaijanis' trust and membership in civic groups and social organizations remain low, while efficacy in personal and local relationship...
05.11.2012 | Monday According to the World Health Organization (WHO), every year about 1.3 million people die as a result of road accidents worldwide. In 2011, the UN launched the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020. A year later, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution A/66/L.43 to improve road safety conditions wo...
26.10.2012 | Friday Corruption and paying a bribe was not uncommon in the former Soviet Union. However, following the collapse of the USSR, rampant corruption began to permeate virtually every aspect of daily life in newly independent Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia (Sandholtz and Taagepera 2005). Reports by international organization...
14.01.2015 | Wednesday
Today, less than democratic regimes face a serious dilemma – how do you buy votes to win an election without becoming an international pariah. Unfortunately for a society and fortunately for an autocrat, the wheels of power and administrative resources an incumbent regime wields provide ample opportunity to manipulate electoral outcomes through what are otherwise legitimate activities related to state spending and coercion.
21.04.2014 | Monday
Although over 20 years have passed since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russian remains the most commonly spoken language in Azerbaijan after the official language (Azerbaijani).
28.04.2014 | Monday
05.05.2014 | Monday
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines abortion as a “termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus.” According to the United Nations' publication, World Abortion Policies, 2011, by 2009 roughly 97% of countries in the world had made abortion legal to save a woman’s life.
28.05.2014 | Wednesday
09.06.2014 | Monday
In the Principles and Recommendations for a Vital Statistics System, Revision 2 (by the United Nations), divorce is defined as “a final legal dissolution of a marriage, that is, that separation of husband and wife which confers on the parties the right to remarriage under civil, religious and/or other provisions, according to the laws of each country.” This blog post examines divorce in Azerbaijan over the years, by age group, gender and by duration of marriage. The post also explores perceptions of happiness among divorced Azerbaijanis and those who are not divorced.
07.07.2014 | Monday
On February 3rd, 2014, Facebook celebrated its 10th anniversary. According to the World Map of Social Networks December, 2013 statistics, Facebook is the world’s most popular social network with more than one billion users. It is followed by QZone with 552 million users, Vkontakte (190 million users), Odnoklassniki (45 million users), and Cloob (1 million users). However, it is important to note that social network usage is not distributed evenly geographically.
11.08.2014 | Monday
The three countries of the South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia) are geographically, historically and politically bound closely together. Nevertheless, these countries often find themselves in disagreement when faced with broader geopolitical questions regarding alliances, threats and visions about the future of the region.
15.09.2014 | Monday
Authors Rahmato and Kidanu (1999) use the phrase “We live only for today” to describe a feeling whereby a person gives up on life and does not know or does not want to think about what will happen the next day. This phrase describes a state wherein people live day-to-day without hope for the future. This sense of helplessness or hopelessness with regard to the future is known as fatalism.
29.09.2014 | Monday
Optimism abounds with regards to the recently signed Georgia-European Union Association Agreement (AA). Most Georgians, however, lack information about the EU and its relation to the country, including the details of the agreement which directly concern the future of Georgia’s economy. The AA covers many areas including national security, migration, human rights and the rule of law but is primarily a free trade agreement with potentially major implications for employment.
28.03.2016 | Monday
While territorial integrity was named by the majority of the population as the most important issue facing Georgia in late 2008 and 2009, in the aftermath of the 2008 war with Russia, the focus has since shifted to economic issues and, first of all, unemployment.
03.11.2014 | Monday
The recent history of the South Caucasus as seen by the world’s media – Part 1, Armenia and Azerbaijan
History has been a qualitative discipline and has often been considered part of the humanities, well, historically, but the emergence of big data is likely to extend the use of quantitative methods in historical research in the long run. Big data projects have aimed at everything from finding out where to pick fruit in your city to mapping the prevalence of AIDS in the United States, but a recent project, Global Database of Events, Language, and Tone (GDELT) has compiled a massive database of print media coverage in over 100 languages including Armenian, Azerbaijani, and Georgian. Originally created by Kalev Leetaru and Philip Schrodt at Georgetown University, the GDELT database contains about a quarter of a billion uniquely coded units starting from 1979.
24.11.2014 | Monday
This is the fifth and final blog post in a series analyzing the findings of CRRC-Georgia’s 2013 May 17 survey in Tbilisi and presents evidence-based policy recommendations which address the issue of widespread homophobic attitudes. The previous blog posts in this series can be found here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.
08.12.2014 | Monday
State capacity is a concept which has gained wide interest from political scientists in recent years as an important concept for economic development and regime classification, yet it still lacks agreed upon definitions and indicators. Its definitions vary, with different scholars highlighting different aspects of the concept based on their angle on the subject, but some definitions of state capacity are broader than others. A good example of a broad definition of state capacity is “the state’s ability to implement public policy” (Rogers and Weller, 2014).
02.11.2015 | Monday
When discussing political competition in Georgia, some politicians bemoan Georgian voters: they describe the majority of voters as socially conservative and economically short-sighted. Therefore, parties have few options to campaign on, beyond promising immediate benefits or subsidies, while keeping silent about liberal values and an open economy.
09.11.2015 | Monday
After the collapse of the Georgian economy in the 1990s, the country slowly started to recover, and between 2000 and 2014, the gross national income grew from $3.4 billion to $16.7 billion (in current USD). According to the National Statistics Office of Georgia, the official unemployment rate in Georgia was 12.4% in 2014, but according to numerous surveys the rate is much higher.
25.11.2015 | Wednesday
The Knowledge of and Attitudes towards the European Union in Georgia 2015 survey report was presented today by Eurasia Partnership Foundation (EPF) in Tbilisi.
12.01.2012 | Thursday
In the wake of Russian protests for free and fair elections— one of the hallmarks of democracy— the international community has again turned its attention on democratization in the post-Soviet region. Democracy, in its various forms, represents something different to everyone. So what does it mean for Georgians? Do Georgians consider Georgia to be a democratic state in its present form? What are their perceptions of democracy?
14.03.2012 | Wednesday
Why hasn’t the economic crisis in Europe deterred Georgia’s desire to join the European Union? The majority of Georgians (and the Georgian government) want to join the EU despite crisis in the Eurozone. Yet, the continued crisis, including the Eurogroup’s recent (and second) rescue of Greece’s economy and Hungary’s harsh austerity measures, illustrates that the crisis is not isolated to the Eurozone.
16.03.2012 | Friday
...all of this straight from the Brookings website, an event that one of our colleagues, Yulia Aliyeva, will contribute to this week:
Most of the world's 27 million people who have been internally displaced by conflict do not live in camps; rather they live with family members or friends or are dispersed within communities. One frequently overlooked aspect of displacement is the impact of internally displaced persons (IDPs) on the communities which host them—communities which are often poor and marginalized themselves.
09.02.2011 | Wednesday
In February 11, 2011, the CRRC-Azerbaijan office launched the third stage of its Junior Research Fellowship Program, funded by the Open Society Institute Think-Tank Fund. Fifteen selected participants will attend the next round of extensive trainings that will prepare them for writing public policy papers.
06.04.2011 | Wednesday
On March 11, 2011, the participants of CRRC-Azerbaijan’s Junior Research Fellowship Program (JRFP) competed for the best PowerPoint presentations based on data from the 2009 Caucasus Barometer (CB). The event was their first time demonstrating their skills in organizing and presenting data. The fellowship selection committee and organizers were anxious to see what the fellows would present after many months of training in quantitative data analysis.
07.04.2011 | Thursday
What are the social, political and economic attitudes of people in Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan? Do Georgians, Armenians and Azerbaijanis think employment or territorial integrity is the most important issue facing their respective countries? How do they judge the fairness of elections or media independence? How trusting or supportive are they of the European Union, NATO membership or local institutions?
07.06.2011 | Tuesday
The South Caucasus Social Protection and Social Inclusion regional conference was held in Tbilisi, Georgia on May 19th and 20th. Both the CRRC-Armenia and CRRC-Azerbaijan offices presented country reports on these issues.
10.07.2012 | Tuesday Despite some international criticism on media freedom, nationwide survey data shows that Azerbaijanis seem to be generally satisfied with certain forms of national mass media—although with a few exceptions. The overall picture that emerges from the 2011 Caucasus Barometer in Azerbaijan is that 44% of the population thinks TV journalists inform the population well, 32% are neutral, and 16% say TV journalists do not inform the population well (7% don’t know).
28.07.2011 | Thursday
This past summer, Freedom House launched the 14th edition of its Nations in Transit (NIT) report. The publication comprehensively monitors democratic developments in 29 countries from Central Europe to Eurasia, amongst them Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. CRRC is represented in the report with data from the 2010 Corruption Survey in Armenia.
01.08.2011 | Monday
Material deprivation is a non-monetary measure of poverty which measures ownership of durable goods considered valuable by a society for a good standard of living. The CRRC’s 2010 Caucasus Barometer provides a limited assessment of material deprivation by measuring household ownership of nine durable goods in South Caucasian homes: TVs, DVD players, washing machines, refrigerators, air conditioners, cars, landline telephones, cell phones, and computers.
29.09.2011 | Thursday
In a recent datablog, the Guardian published a map visualizing how the former Soviet countries are doing 20 years after the fall of the Soviet Union. The map compares the 15 former Soviet countries in terms of economic development, demographics and democratic transition. It also divides the countries into five regions: Russia, the Baltic countries, the EU borderlands, Central Asia and the South Caucasus.
07.10.2011 | Friday
The collapse of the Soviet Union and the fall of the “Iron Curtain” opened new prospects for migration for people in the South Caucasus. Comparing data from all three countries in the region shows a tendency that Armenians have a greater interest in both temporary and permanent emigration than Azerbaijanis and Georgians. The blog covers different aspects which may influence the emigration. These are: number of trips abroad, education level, unemployment, average monthly income, family members and close friends currently residing abroad.
02.11.2011 | Wednesday
Continuing to explore standards of living in the South Caucasus, this blog looks at the between four sources of household income and material deprivation using data from the 2010 Caucasus Barometer. Each of the four sources of income (salaries, pensions or government transfers, sales from agricultural goods, and remittances) are categorized by their importance to the household and then cross tabulated with material deprivation. The findings suggest that families reliant on salaries and remittances are better off, while families receiving pensions and government transfers, or those who sell agricultural products as their primary source of income have higher than average rates of material deprivation.
09.11.2011 | Wednesday
On October 15, 2011, CRRC-Azerbaijan organized a conference recognizing the completion of its first Junior Research Fellowship Program (JRFP). The conference featured five presentations of individual research projects by the winners of the JRFP essay contest, as well as information about the general activities of CRRC-Azerbaijan office followed by an award ceremony and lunch. More than 30 invitees attended the event, representing civil society, academia, governmental agencies, and international organizations.
07.12.2011 | Wednesday
The 20th anniversary of the dissolution of the Soviet Union is upon us, and US-Russian tensions have risen as Russia contemplates terminating the NATO supply route through Russia. International news reports such as The New York Times detail the threat as a “death blow” to the U.S.-led NATO mission in Afghanistan and indicate that this could be a blessing in disguise for NATO hopeful Georgia, as well as for Azerbaijan.
26.12.2011 | Monday
Survey data shows that there is a strong preference for male children over female children throughout the South Caucasus. As mentioned in the March 4, 2010 edition of The Economist, after 1991 there has been an increase in the ratio of boys to girls in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. The sex ratio rose from 103-106 boys to 100 girls in 1991 to 115-120 boys to 100 girls by 2000. The 2010 Caucasus Barometer (CB) indicates that gender preferences in the South Caucasus remain skewed in favor of males with 54% of Armenians, 27% of Azerbaijanis and 46% of Georgians prefer to have male children if given a choice.
15.03.2010 | Monday
Migration is a major factor in Georgia. Many Georgians live abroad, and by some estimates the money they send back accounts for nearly 10% of Georgia’s GDP. Did you know that households in rural areas who receive such aid are less likely to be poor, but that in Tbilisi, the opposite is true?
19.03.2010 | Friday
Earlier this month The Economist published two articles (article one, article two) on imbalances in gender. In all societies there is, at birth, a sex ratio slightly biased in favor of boys: 103-106 boys to 100 girls. The number evens out later on as male babies have a higher mortality rate than female babies. In some parts of the world, however, there currently is an abnormally high number of boys being born.
30.03.2010 | Tuesday
In 2007 we wrote a blog post on the Big Mac Index, an index published by The Economist as an informal way of measuring purchasing power parity (PPP). The idea is that a dollar should buy you the same amount in all countries, and as a Big Mac is assumed to be produced in the same way everywhere it can serve as a point of comparison. You can thus determine how far off the exchange rate is between countries, in terms of citizens’ ability to buy the same “basket” of goods and services (in this case a Big Mac hamburger).
02.07.2010 | Friday
Freedom House has just released its Nations in Transit report for the year 2010. The report attempts to quantify democratic development in Central European and Eurasian states by observing 8 separate factors – for instance, Electoral Process and National Democratic Governance - which affect the level of democracy in a given country. Each category is graded on a score of 1 to 7, with 1 representing the highest level of democratic progress, and 7 representing the lowest. Much of the media attention has typically focused on Russia.
08.08.2010 | Sunday
What are the patterns in how the respondents are rated by the interviewers? The relevance of this question is beyond doubt, as patterns in such ratings allow for an idea of the reliability of the data as well as for more general insights into the settings in which interviewers are gathering data. Relevant data has been gathered in the Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey for years, enabling us to analyze the impressions that interviewers have gained during their work in the South Caucasus.
10.09.2010 | Friday
While writing his PhD, Aleksey Hovakimyan was a regular user of CRRC-Armenia, often working in the computer lab or the library. We therefore were delighted to hear that his PhD thesis has now been published, and wanted to support him in spreading the word of his book's release.
10.09.2010 | Friday
In August 2010, the Fellowship Selection Committee of the Junior Research Fellowship Program (JRFP)-Azerbaijan had the difficult task of selecting the three best policy papers submitted by program participants. The voting, which was held by secret ballot was extremely difficult because these three papers had minimum differences between scores. Thus, the distribution of the top three winners was unknown until the very last moment. CRRC-Azerbaijan is proud to present the winners of the JRFP policy paper competition: Aynur Ramazanova (first place), Shabnam Agayeva (second place) and Gulnar Mammadova (third place).
11.10.2010 | Monday
With ever-increasing globalized societies, ethnically homogeneous states are fewer and fewer. Increased mobility has resulted in freer movement for migration and travel, and advances in technology have made constant communication easy across the globe. No doubt, these developments have made friendships between different nationalities more common, and even taken for granted in many places. Yet traditional values persist, and by examining attitudes towards this phenomenon, we can gain an understanding of a country’s social dynamics as well as predicting potential conflicts.
15.10.2010 | Friday
While attitudes toward interethnic friendship can give an idea of how people feel about others in their personal lives, the Caucasus Barometer survey probes further into core beliefs by asking about attitudes toward interethnic marriage. In analyzing their replies, we gain an insight into how different ethnicities come into play in the context of marriage and the formation of a family.
29.10.2010 | Friday
On October 26 Transparency International released the results of the 2010 Corruption Perception Index (CPI). The CPI is a measure of domestic, public sector corruption in 178 countries, rating them on a scale from 10 (very clean) to 0 (highly corrupt). Nearly three quarters of the countries in the index score below five and the South Caucasus countries are no exceptions.
01.11.2010 | Monday
Close friends are an important part of life, whether we are starting a new school year as a child, a new job, or in the context of a stable and familiar environment. Whatever the backdrop, close friends help provide a social safety net where individuals can feel understood and protected against perceived obstacles and hardships. In short, friends are an important part of a sense of well-being and belonging, which affects attitudes across a wide spectrum of issues.
05.11.2010 | Friday
CRRC hosted a presentation on October 27 by Onnik Krikorian, a British journalist of part-Armenian descent and the Caucasus editor for Global Voices, entitled “Overcoming Negative Stereotypes in the Caucasus: New and Social Media in cross-border communication and conflict reporting.”
11.11.2010 | Thursday
Here are some photos from the award ceremony of the first stage of the Junior Research Fellowship Program – Azerbaijan (JRFP) that was organized in a cozy Baku restaurant. The winners of the competition for the best policy essay were awarded iPods, and other participants who had submitted essays received book vouchers.
14.11.2010 | Sunday
Written by Arpine Porsughyan. Re-posted from the Caucasian Knot.
Many academics argue that the influence of the media is especially strong in environments where citizens depend on a limited number of news sources. In contrast, when citizens have alternative sources of information they are less subject to the potential effects of media.
09.12.2010 | Thursday
Every three years, a range of countries take part in the educational PISA tests, an assessment of the competencies of 15-year olds. The tests are organized by the OECD, and have led to soul-searching and vigorous educational reforms in various countries. In the 2009 round, 34 OECD countries and 41 partner countries took part.
10.12.2010 | Friday
By Yuliya Aliyeva Gureyeva, Baku
The paper published in the 21st edition of the Caucasus Analytical Digest presents an account of how two competing policy approaches coexist in the policy attitudes towards women in Azerbaijan.
10.12.2010 | Friday
According to Transparency International’s recently released 2010 Barometer, rates of corruption in the world are rising. Six out of ten respondents say that corruption has gotten worse over the past three years, and most alarmingly, rates of bribe-paying to the police have nearly doubled since 2006.
17.12.2010 | Friday
Our 300th post is by Ani Navasardyan, from the Civilitas Foundation in Armenia, who was working with our Georgian and Regional office for a month.
21.01.2008 | Monday
According to CRRC's 2007 Data Initiative 2007 (visit www.crrccenters.org), around 3% of the population have Internet access at home in Georgia; nevertheless, we were curious to know how fast these people’s Internet speed is across the Caucasus.
22.02.2008 | Friday
Many of our readers know of both our quibbles with indexes, but also our steadfastness when it comes to posting about them. The Bertelsmann Foundation released its trademark index, the Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI) (PDF), which according to its producers, is "the global ranking of the quality of democracy, the market economy and political leadership in 125 developing and transformation countries."
27.02.2008 | Wednesday
Readers here may not be aware that actually our Armenian CRRC also runs its own blog, to announce and describe CRRC's events. One of the most recent events was a lecture by the IMF Resident Representative in Armenia, Dr. Nienke Oomes.
03.03.2008 | Monday
Book Review | The Post-Soviet Wars: Rebellion, Ethnic Conflict and Nationhood in the Caucasus | Christoph Zürcher
The earliest books that came out about the Caucasus after the collapse of the Soviet Union were firsthand accounts of events. Now, a second spate of books, which attempt to apply analytical frameworks to the turbulent events that occurred have the breakup of the Soviet Union are beginning to appear.
17.03.2008 | Monday
In a previous post we wrote about the PISA scores of 15-year olds in Azerbaijan. As you may recall, PISA is an international test of competency, primarily focusing on reading, mathematics and science. Azerbaijan deserves particular praise for participating in this challenging international exercise: the results in science were not altogether flattering, but it's better to take part than to stand aside, and it can only be hoped that Georgia and Armenia will also be taking part soon.
31.03.2008 | Monday
Brookings Index of Regime Weakness | State Rebuilding or State Collapse in the Caucasus | The Annals of Data
Yet another index was released recently -- Brookings Index of State Weakness in the Developing World. One professor of mine in graduate school, who was a veteran hot spot worker, related that all of the conflict professionals keep their eye on this map to see where they are going next. In this year's version of the index, however, it's where they already are: Somalia, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Iraq top the list.
11.04.2008 | Friday
A previous blog entry on Millennium Challenge Corporation’s Meta-Index, as you may recall, presented Georgia’s performance. For those who do not know, Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) uses data from the research of various organizations such as the IFC, the World Bank Institute, UNESCO, Freedom House and others. Millennium Challenge Corporation recently released an assessment through its annual scorecard, which has three main policy categories: Ruling Justly, Investing in People, and Economic Freedom.
15.04.2008 | Tuesday
A slightly specialized topic: what's the cost of tourism? Often suggested as a way of developing parts of the South Caucasus, especially Georgia, quickly, it's interesting to take a quick look, since in tourism many factors interact: business, environment, architecture, urban planning, societal habits, local versus national government, local and foreign expectations, and the challenge of reconciling all of those.
03.05.2008 | Saturday
22.05.2008 | Thursday
So the preliminary report on yesterday's Parliamentary Elections which ODIHR has just released again notes that the count had problems.
06.06.2008 | Friday
At first glance it may seem that trade between the Georgian region of Samtskhe-Javakheti and the neighboring Armenian region of Shirak should provide a natural basis for development in both regions. However, the main border crossing point in Samtskhe Javakheti is under-utilized and trade is not creating stimulation for growth in either region.
24.06.2008 | Tuesday
Last week we gave a snapshot of religious practices across the South Caucasus in general. The CRRC DI gives us an opportunity to explore this topic further and see whether religious practices are only country specific, or whether there are other factors influencing them. Let’s see if gender is a defining factor in religious practices in the South Caucasus.
30.06.2008 | Monday
Given the recent craze over UEFA football and the large number of diehard football fans across the Caucasus, I think the question about the politics of support is worth addressing. It can provide interesting insights into both cultural and political affinities -- much like Eurovision support -- except with a different demographic. We have limited information here, so the blog cries out for help!
22.07.2008 | Tuesday
The CRRC Data Initiative (DI) gives people an opportunity to do interesting cross-country comparisons of the South Caucasus (SC) people’s attitude toward their neighbors. This subject is quite sensitive and complex when thinking of the fact that the SC stands out for its sequence of ethnic conflicts.
12.09.2008 | Friday
Results of the World Bank’s Doing Business 2009 project, claims to present "objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement across 181 economies and selected cities at the sub-national and regional level", were made public today.
12.09.2008 | Friday
Over the past year questionable lending practices by major banks and lack of consumer education about credit risk in the United States among “sub-prime” borrowers caused a credit crunch that in turn erupted into a major financial crisis that threatens to lead to a recession and an international economic downturn.
24.09.2008 | Wednesday
Interested in urban development? Want to know how outsiders describe the urban experience of Baku? Two young researchers from Germany have set up a blog to follow their project in tracking changes in Baku. Oriana Kraemer and Sebastian Burger take photographs, attend lectures, and comment on what they observe. Given the inflow of sudden wealth, Baku witnesses comprehensive change. A great project, therefore.
02.10.2008 | Thursday
In Georgia, attention now turns towards sorting out the impact of the short August conflict. How plausible is the reporting we are seeing? Do the journalists get it right?
03.10.2008 | Friday
Recently, as a result of the football diplomacy between Armenia and Turkey, an opinion poll was conducted in both Turkey and Armenia to gauge the reaction to new gestures in the Turko-Armenian relationship. The poll was carried out by MetroPoll in Ankara (Turkish only website) and by the Armenian Center for National and International Studies -- run by Rafik Hovannisian an American Diaspora Armenian now resident in Yerevan and involved in Armenian politics.
07.10.2008 | Tuesday
So what plagues local business? In many cases it's the same problem we have in politics as well: there simply is the wrong paradigm. It is self-centered, rather than being other-centered. Or, if that sounds too much like marriage counseling, let's put it this way: too many sellers try to solve their own problems, rather than those of other people. Nothing wrong with that, but it's not how you can succeed in a market. After all, who likes to spend their money on other people's problems? Charity is not a business model, at least not in retail.
13.10.2008 | Monday
Here is an assessment of policy research in Azerbaijan that we stumbled upon, in a yet-unpublished piece. It paints a stark picture, but we thought it provides food for discussion.
16.10.2008 | Thursday
The Russian community is the most institutionalized ethnic community in Azerbaijan, according to the research of Ilham Abbasov, a CRRC 2007 Fellow. This is due to the quite diverse nature of this community, some support from the kin state, and the demand for the social communication space among mostly urban Russian speaking actors.
11.12.2007 | Tuesday The World Resources Institute, a global environmental think tank based in Washington DC, is providing maps that allow a visual comparison of data for the countries in the South Caucasus. Called "Funnel the Money", it seeks to chart development within countries, and also track allocation of resources from the central government by providing regional comparisons.
04.12.2012 | Tuesday OECD has just published their 2006 PISA results, which stands for "Program for International Student Assessment". In PISA, 15-year olds are tested for basic abilities in various fields. The 2006 round focused primarily on science learning. A little more than 60 countries participated, including Azerbaijan. Georgia and Armenia did not take part.
08.11.2008 | Saturday
World Public Opinion is the initiative of the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) of the University of Maryland that explores public opinion on a variety of topics in 25 countries across the globe, including Azerbaijan, the only South Caucasus country represented in the survey. Russia and Ukraine are the other two former USSR countries that the project includes.
22.11.2008 | Saturday
One of the most impressive recent survey efforts, measuring attitudes about different countries in transition, has been undertaken by EBRD. Called Life in Transition Survey (LiTS), this is an attempt to look at how 29 'transitioning' countries have developed following 1989. The survey tracks "public attitudes, well-being, and the impact of economic and political change".
26.11.2008 | Wednesday
If you didn’t have time or are just too far away to attend a lecture at CRRC Azerbaijan, you can now get information about our past events from our main website.
02.12.2008 | Tuesday
We have written previously about the World Public Opinion project of the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland. The project has recently released interesting data on energy issues based on the poll conducted in 21 countries. According to the WorldPublicOpinion.org publication, the majority of Azerbaijanis favor alternative energy development. 64% (compared to 77% average of 21 world countries) think that solar and wind power should be promoted more strongly in the country. Increasing the energy efficiency of buildings is also favored, while opinions split on the expansion of coal/oil-fired and nuclear power plants.
02.11.2006 | Thursday
Nani Chkhaidze compared the 1990s election programs of parties that won the elections in the South Caucasus.
23.11.2006 | Thursday
Recently a post by Farid Gulyev, founder of the Azerbaijani_Studies List:
"Economist Douglass North, Nobel Prize speech 1993 'Evolution requires that society develop institutions that will permit anonymous, impersonal exchange across time and space…
23.11.2006 | Thursday
The Economist observes that, being caught in complex cross-tensions, it would help if the three countries of the South Caucasus cooperated on some minimally shared interests.
05.12.2006 | Tuesday
According to a 1999 Reproductive Health Survey, Georgia has the highest abortion rates in the former Soviet Union (possibly in the world, though I haven't checked). In Georgia there are 3.7 abortions per woman (per life).
07.12.2006 | Thursday
Foreign students officially registered in Germany, 2004
11.12.2006 | Monday
Rashida Abdullayeva examined a curious relic from Cold War days: in Gabala, Northern Azerbaijan, there is a giant radar station, which is leased out to Russia until 2012. According to reports citing the Russian Ministry of Defence the radar station has a range of up to 6000 km, was designed to detect missile launches from the Indian Ocean, and hosts around 1200 Russian servicemen.
11.12.2006 | Monday
Sergey Rumyantsev studied migration from Georgia to Azerbaijan. He interviewed 460 ethnic Azerbaijani respondents who had migrated from Georgia to Azerbaijan. The majority of respondents said that the socioeconomic situation in Georgia was the prime reason for the migration.
12.12.2006 | Tuesday
Unemployment following the collapse of the command economies in the Caucasus has had consequences far beyond the traditional questions of income. Unemployment affects people’s psychological condition and, on a more basic level, the very fabric of society.
12.12.2006 | Tuesday
There has been growing concern about HIV/AIDS in the South Caucasus. But what kind of knowledge and attitudes about the disease exist in the region? By using data from the CRRC 2004 Data Initiative (DI) and conducting focus groups Gulshan Tagiyeva analyzed the knowledge and attitudes about HIV/AIDS in Azerbaijan.
07.09.2007 | Friday The Foreign Policy Research Institute does an international survey of think tanks. Apparently they mailed 3,025 surveys to 126 countries. Of these, 817 responded in 96 countries.
27.08.2007 | Monday
Two years ago, Tigran Sargsyan, the Chairman of the Central Bank of Armenia, wrote a brief paper looking at various facets of the economies of the countries of the South Caucasus from four different vantage points including an evaluation of compliance with the Maastricht Treaty, the relationship between each country’s economic processes and the creation of human capital, macroeconomic effectiveness, and the actual sustainability of development.
20.08.2007 | Monday Economic free zones in Georgia are no longer a necessary, helpful, or even relevant option for Georgia’s economic development according to a GFSIS article written by Vladimer Papava. A free economic zone is a discreet area of a country’s economy designated by the government and bestowed with certain benefits and privileges.
07.08.2007 | Tuesday The Open Budget Index, a project of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, released the first-ever independent and non-governmental Budget Transparency Ratings in October 2006. The index endeavors to provide the practical information needed to analyze the transparency and accessibility of a government’s budgetary processes—and thus better equip citizens and legislators in lobbying for governmental accountability and targeted, effective policymaking.
08.05.2017 | Monday In Georgia, where, according to the World Bank, a third of the population live on under USD 2.5 per day, poverty and unemployment are consistently considered the most important issues facing the country. For those who are struggling financially, borrowing is a widespread coping mechanism. While access to credit can have benefits, debt can also have psychological costs, such as increased stress and anxiety. CRRC’s 2015 Caucasus Barometer (CB) data show interesting patterns about having personal debts in Georgia. The first part of this blog post focuses on the characteristics of those who report having personal debts in Georgia, while the second part looks at the money lending patterns, as well as reported well-being of people who are owed money or who borrow it
15.05.2017 | Monday The first part of this blog post showed that people who report being in a worse economic situation are more likely to have debts in Georgia. In the second part of this blog post, a new variable is added to the analysis, “Does anyone owe you any money?”
06.11.2017 | Monday
Taking partly free voters seriously: autocratic response to voter preferences in Armenia and GeorgiaDo voters in less than democratic contexts matter or are elections simply facades used to create a veneer of democratic accountability for domestic and international actors? Within the Autocratic Response to Voter Preferences in Armenia and Georgia project, funded by Academic Swiss Caucasus Net, CRRC-Georgia and CRRC-Armenia aimed to help answer this question, at least for Georgia and Armenia. On October 27, Caucasus Survey published the results of the project in a special issue, available here.
05.12.2017 | Tuesday On 15 November, the Ministry of Culture announced it would give ‘Georgian tolerance’ the status of intangible cultural heritage. Historically, Georgia may have exhibited relatively high levels of tolerance, with many pointing to the reign of King David the Builder in the 12th century. David is celebrated for presiding over the start of the country’s golden age, and many point to his encouragement of other ethnicities settling in Georgia as a good example of Georgian tolerance.
12.02.2018 | Monday What are the factors that help one get a good job? The question is important around the world, and arguably even more important in countries with high reported unemployment, like Georgia and Armenia. While it would require an in-depth study of the labor market of a given country to find out what actually helps a person get a good job, what people think about this issue is also interesting. CRRC’s 2017 Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey asked the population of Armenia and Georgia which factors where important for getting a good job in their country.
28.05.2018 | Monday People in Georgia consistently name unemployment as the main problem the country faces. Women, compared with men, report having a job less often. Based on CRRC/NDI December 2017 survey findings, this blog post presents the population’s perceptions of some of the issues that women in Georgia face that may partially explain women’s lower labor force participation rate.
10.09.2018 | Monday On July 21, 2018 Georgian legislators approved an accumulative pension scheme, after years of discussion. As one of the requirements of the new law, employees with contracts who are under the age of 40 have to contribute 2% of their remuneration to the state-run pension fund, on a monthly basis. Although other employees are not legally required to do so, they may participate in the scheme voluntarily. This law is a first step in a larger reform of Georgia’s pension system. Opposition politicians have criticized the new law citing that it counters the country’s constitution as it introduces a new tax without a referendum. Several civil society groups also expressed criticism of the reform, questioning its legitimacy.
21.01.2019 | Monday Georgia’s state budget amounted to GEL 12.5 billion in 2018. The Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs; Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure; and Ministry of Education and Science had the largest appropriations at 28.2% (GEL 3.528 billion), 14.5% (GEL 1.815 billion), and 9.5% (GEL 1.186 billion) of the budget, respectively. In the 2018 June CRRC/NDI survey, respondents were asked, “What are your top three priorities for spending, understanding it means cutting elsewhere?” Respondents were provided with a show card and allowed to name up to three answers. This blog post looks at whether responses match up with actual spending, and how priorities vary among different demographic groups.
13.05.2019 | Monday While a large number of Georgians think the country is going in the wrong direction, the fact that they are judging the country’s performance based on issues rather than political partisanship alone is a good sign.
25.11.2019 | Monday The share of the public with loans from formal financial institutions doubled from 2011 to 2016 according to World Bank Group’s analysis based on Integrated Household Survey in Georgia. The July 2019 CRRC/NDI survey data suggests that about half of the population has a loan. To address perceived over-indebtedness, on 1 January, 2019 the National Bank of Georgia introduced new regulations, restricting lending without more extensive analysis of a consumer’s solvency. The analysis includes looking at an individual’s income, expenses and total obligations, and determination of debtors’ capacity to service their loans without significant financial difficulties.
06.01.2020 | Monday Georgia is a small, partly free democracy in a tough neighbourhood, and NATO membership remains an unfulfilled promise. While Russia is widely perceived as the main threat to Georgia’s security, the appropriate strategic or political response to the threat is not obvious. What options does Georgia have when faced with a powerful rival on its border, and what public support is there for these options?
13.01.2020 | Monday The first part of this blog post discussed evidence of an association between perceiving Russia as the main threat to Georgia and a preference for a foreign policy that balances against that threat through alliances with the West. The relationship between threat perception and hedging, defined as attempting to maintain good relations with both Russia and the West, is less clear.
29.06.2020 | Monday
What did Georgians think was the most important issue facing the country prior to the COVID-19 outbreak? The economy. The current COVID-19 outbreak will shift perceptions surely. Yet, the measures to fight the virus have slowed down the economy, exacerbating the previously existing economic issues. While the economy has consistently been the most important issue for most Georgians in recent years, this headline figure hides some nuance. This blog explores this nuance, looking at who names a mixture of economic and non-economic issues as the most important ones facing the country.
23.07.2020 | Thursday
Today, CRRC Georgia released a report on public opinion in Georgia on the Covid-19 crisis. The report includes data collected between late April and early June, 2020. During this time, CRRC Georgia conducted weekly public opinion surveys and presented the results on a weekly basis to policy makers, local NGOs and the international community.