Friday, December 30, 2011

Season's Greetings

Happy New Year and Merry Christmas

Շնորհավոր Նոր Տարի եւ Սուրբ Ծնունդ

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2010 Household Survey Released

The 2010 Household Integrated Living Conditions Survey was recently released by Armstat. As with previously released surveys, observations are aggregated at the household level and information is released for a subset of the variables. You may download the survey for free but registration is required. A couple of days earlier the survey aggregated at the household member level, with a smaller subset of variables, was also released (no registration required).
The survey of 7872 households (29986 members) is available as an xls and sav (spss) files. See my previous post to read or convert sav files to dta (stata).
The limited number of variables available in these public releases, as well as the aggregate nature of the underlying data, undoubtedly reflect an attempt to protect the confidentiality of respondent information. But by doing so, these surveys have very limited uses. One wonders whether a better approach to confidentiality can be found. Why not drop high income individuals, or regional identifiers, or just cap reported amounts? Otherwise, such a valuable resource will continue to be underutilized!
As always, links to this and other survey data on Armenia are provided in the Resources page of

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Who is Responsible for the Global Crisis

Many blame financial institutions, mostly in the US, for causing the global crisis. But these views do not seem to be universally held. In the recently released 2010 Life in Transition Survey database by EBRD, 1000 Armenian households were asked (along with those in 33 other countries) which country they blame for the global economic crisis. The raw data shows that 45 percent responded that the Armenian government is partly responsible (question q803aa), 27 percent the US, and so on. When asked who is the most responsible, the Armenian government was held to blame by 37 percent (question q803b). Another 28 percent did not know who to blame.

It is difficult to make the case that much of the population is ill informed. But if the LiTS survey is representative of Armenian households, then this raises questions on a number of fronts with financial literacy way at the top. The bad news is that the blame does not seem to vary much with education (probit estimates). The good news is that Armenia is not alone; similar findings can be obtained for a handful of other countries.

Who is most responsible for the economic crisis?
(computed from the 2010 LiTS Armenia sub-sample)

Note: above are not weighted as sampling weights are not reported on the released file.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Food Prices

Food prices have risen sharply over the past 8 years. The trend in part reflects the de-dollarization of the earlier years followed by the dollarization of the past couple of years, as well as world prices and local competitive conditions. Regardless of the causes, this rise in prices by far exceeds the growth in income of much of the population.

Milk prices have experienced the narrowest swing in prices, from 250 drams in 2002 to 328 Drams in 2010. In contrast, the price of rice rose from 302 to 648 Drams over the same period. As reported in the table beow, similar trends are observed for flour, beef, sugar, and grapes. More is reported on the Resources/Economic Data page of (food_retail_prices.xls).

Source: Armstat, combined releases

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Armenian Economic Association Call for Papers

Deadline extended to July 25, 2011.

The Armenian Economic Association ( will hold its 2011 Conference on October 22-24, at the Yerevan State University (YSU), in Yerevan, Armenia.

Scholars, graduate students, and researchers are invited to present their research in all areas of economics. The language of the conference is Armenian and English, and sessions will be organized by language and JEL fields below:

Mathematical and Quantitative Methods
Microeconomics; Industry Studies
Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics
International Economics
Financial Economics
Public Economics
Labor and Demographic Economics, Health, Education, and Welfare
Growth, Economic Development, and Transition Economics
Agricultural, Natural Resources, and Environmental Economics
Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics

Please send an abstract of less than 500 words to annual2011 [at] by June 25, 2011, addressed to Zareh Asatryan or Nune Hovhannisyan. Abstracts should include: title of paper, name(s) of author(s), affiliation, current position, an email address, and at least one keyword. In the abstract, please identify the research question, methods, and outcomes obtained or expected. Authors will be informed of the acceptance of their proposals by July 10, 2011.

The final draft is required by October 15, in time to post online before the conference. Select papers, including best student papers (in English), will be considered for publication in the Armenian Journal of Economics (AJE) subject to peer review.

Those interested in attending the meetings but without presenting a paper, and wish to serve as session chairs, discussants, help edit papers, or offer any other assistance, may email annual2011 [at] Conference participation is free.

The aim of the conference is to bring together scholars, researchers and students to promote the exchange of ideas and advance economics scholarship.

Monday, May 02, 2011

FDI yet to recover

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) continued its steep decline from its peak in 2008. In 2010, FDI stood at USD 483 million, almost 60 percent below where it was in 2008. Had it not been for the investment by the french, mostly in telecom, this would have been much lower.

Below are figures for the countries with the largest FDI. As always, more detail is provided on or here.

Table: FDI through 2010, in USD millions. Source: Armstat

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

One more study of the value of the Dram

A recent IMF working paper addresses the value of the Dram. The paper discusses various methodological aspects of estimation techniques as it replicates previous findings.

Here is the abstract:
This paper uses a range of different methodologies to estimate the equilibrium real exchange rate in Armenia with both single-country and panel estimation techniques. We estimate a country specific autoregressive distributed lag model and then proceed with the estimation of a cointegrated panel consisting of transition economies in Europe and Central Asia. This addresses cross section dependence by using common correlated effects estimators. While our analysis focuses on Armenia, the methods are applicable to a large number of transition economies, and the paper thus provides an overview of methods that can be used to assess a country’s equilibrium exchange rate.