As part of the Regional Development Project (Regpol), a survey was conducted on the “Regional Disparities in Georgia”. Regpol is implemented by a consortium led by Ecorys (Netherland BV), Oxford Policy Management (OPM, UK) and Policy and Management Consulting Group (PMCG). This technical assistance project is funded by the European Union and intends to help Georgian authorities to promote economic and social development across the country and amongst all of its citizens.
The survey was conducted by the International School of Economics at Tbilisi State University (ISET). On June 13, a seminar was held to present and discuss the results obtained in the survey. The purpose of the study was to take stock of the existing regionally disaggregated data and to identify disparities between the regions of Georgia. Statistical information obtained by the National Statistics Office of Georgia was analyzed during the research, specifically: Integrated Household Survey, the Millennium Challenge Corporation Survey, and the Village Infrastructure Census.
The research discovered that while there are differences between regions, most of the systematic regional disparities can be explained by differences in urbanization rates across the regions. Regions which are, relatively speaking, more urbanized and in particular the capital city Tbilisi, tend to have a higher per capital gross value added, a more diverse and sophisticated economic structure, and a better developed infrastructure. At the same time, unemployment tends to be higher in relatively more urbanized regions. From this it should not be inferred that the labor market in rural areas is strong, but rather that there are a high number of subsistence farmers in such locations. Certain important dimensions of regional disparities, such as income, inequality and poverty, cannot be explained by differences in urbanization rates alone.
Important findings for the various dimensions of regional disparities include the following:
• Population and Demography
• Economic Performance and Structure
• Employment and Education
• Social Issues
• Culture and Recreation