Open Access Data Article

Covid-19: Socio-Economic Implications and Effect of Government Policy Initiatives on Developing Economies

Araniyar Isukul, John Chizea, Violet Tobin

South Asian Journal of Social Studies and Economics, Page 68-86
DOI: 10.9734/sajsse/2020/v8i430220

This research investigates the socio-economic implications and effect of government policy initiative of coronavirus on developing economies from a neoliberalist theoretical perspective using a pragmatist approach and mixed method research. Quantitative and qualitative data have been employed to evaluate the effect of the virus on developing economies. The findings of this research reveal the following: that the coronavirus caused significant mortality and morbidity in developing countries and its rapid spread of across countries, and across borders led to a global economic recession. Several drastic government measures were taken to curb the spread of the virus through restriction of individual freedom and movement. These measures include social distancing, and isolation; closures of educational institutions, religious institutions, and businesses, prohibition of public events, and restriction of domestic and foreign travel. Furthermore, the prolonged lockdown measures taken by developing countries to contain the spread of the virus worsened their economic crises. It is expected that the pandemic will reduce economic growth, worsen government debt, increase inflation and worsen current account deficits. The long-term effect of the pandemic in developing countries is the worsening of inequality and poverty and wiping off the economic development strides gained in the last two decades.

Open Access Original Research Article

Exploring the Reasons behind the Usage of Cannabis among Sri Lankan University Undergraduates

Danesh Karunanayake, Achini Purnima De Silva, N. D. U. Vimukthi

South Asian Journal of Social Studies and Economics, Page 1-15
DOI: 10.9734/sajsse/2020/v8i430215

Adolescence is a test of new and different behaviors and part of the natural process of separating from parents, gaining acceptance and popularity with peers, developing a sense of identity, autonomy, independence, and maturity, seeking fun and adventure, and or rebelling against authority. Hence, according to the view of some adolescents, engaging in alcohol, tobacco, and the use of other drugs may be seen as a functional way of achieving independence, maturity, or popularity along with other developmental goals. Cannabis is the most commonly used illegal drug in most countries. Many university students are taking cannabis and other illicit drugs. The main objective of this research was to identify the reasons behind the usage of cannabis among Sri Lankan undergraduates, undergraduates’ attitudes towards the use of cannabis, and Cannabis subculture of undergraduates. The purposive sample included six undergraduates who are excessive users of cannabis. Three participants were from the University of Peradeniya and the other three participants were from the University of Colombo. The study used a qualitative research design comprising of semi-structured individual interviews and the data were analyzed using thematic analysis. The results showed that the most influential reasons to use cannabis were, to reduce stress and anxiety, being an early user, the special feeling felt after using cannabis, to enjoy life and due to the freedom afforded at University; to maintain relationships and to build new relationships with others; to be a hero among others, a perceived increase in academic performance and because cannabis is always available at the university premises. It is important to pay attention to this debilitating issue among our future generations.

Open Access Original Research Article

Where is Nepal in the Food System Transition?

Manoj Sharma, Abhishek Pudasaini

South Asian Journal of Social Studies and Economics, Page 16-36
DOI: 10.9734/sajsse/2020/v8i430216

In Nepal, 27% of GDP is contributed by the agriculture sector with 65.56% of households depending upon agriculture for employment. However, 51.8% of households are still food insecure and 25.2% are under the poverty line. Given these facts, it is interesting to watch how the economic growth and food system will go forward, despite the paradoxical history of development-modest growth but brisk poverty reduction has already been experienced. While literature noted that the transition to a food system is rapid for developing countries, very limited analysis linking the food system to its drivers and its consequences exists in the context of Nepal. The study examined food system transition using the secondary data from different sources and analyzing it through a conceptual framework of the food system. The study showed the contemporary food security issue is disparity in food access among the peoples driven by the poverty gap. The trends and scenarios shown in results revealed that the tendencies of food system drivers are on positive sides, but the structural foundation of agriculture (land issues, labor migration, mechanization, adaptations, etc.) is not so strong. This situation has created a serious question on the transition of the food system in Nepal. For this, the policy priorities are imperative to be institutionalized at all three levels of government-federal, state and local, and need to be concerted to transform the food system.

Open Access Original Research Article

Effects of Women Participation in Self-Help Groups on Households’ Economic Status in Tinderet Sub-County, Nandi County, Kenya

Finson Kiprop Bargoria

South Asian Journal of Social Studies and Economics, Page 37-45
DOI: 10.9734/sajsse/2020/v8i430217

The involvement of women in Self Help Groups is justified as it serves the welfare of its members through savings, investment, capacity building and loan services. However, in Tinderet Sub-county women still encounter limitations and fewer opportunities, especially in regards to income-generating activities and social status that the government would consider best practice in pursuance of achieving sustainable rural development. The study objective was to establish the effects of women participation in self-help groups on their economic status in Tinderet Sub-County. The study was guided by social network theory. The study adopted a descriptive survey research design which was both quantitative and qualitative research approach. The target population comprised of all registered women self-help groups in Tinderet Sub-county, which was 122 with 1220 members. The study used interview schedule for members and direct observation to collect data. The data collected was qualitative data and quantitative data. Qualitative analysis entailed organizing qualitative data into themes and patterns relevant to the research objective. Quantitative data collected were summarized into frequencies and percentages by the help of statistical package for social science (SPSS) version 20. The results showed that the income level of women increased after joining SHGs. Members had greater self-confidence and can make decisions regarding the household needs. The study recommends that women should be regular and punctual in their monthly contributions. The study results are expected to serve as a guideline in formulating policies and improvement of women self-help groups.

Open Access Original Research Article

Performance Efficiency Evaluation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Application in Human Resource Management during COVID-19 Pandemic: A Study on Banking Industry of Bangladesh

Md. Habibur Rahman, Prantika Mutsuddi, Sanjoy Kumar Roy, Md. Al- Amin, Fatema Jannat

South Asian Journal of Social Studies and Economics, Page 46-56
DOI: 10.9734/sajsse/2020/v8i430218

With the things that go towards the efficiency of ICT usage in HRM, measuring and evaluating have become one of the key goals for researchers and practitioners. When it is related to crisis moments like the COVID-19 pandemic whereas considering the performance of organizations it becomes practically important to examine the level of performance efficiency in HRM. Therefore, in this study, some aspects are explored to know the efficiency of HRM performance with the application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in its functions maintaining social distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. While using the regression model, people management, regular HR activities, HR payroll and rewards, and performance evaluation and promotion are taken as independent variables while the HR performance efficiency is taken as a dependent variable. Correlation and regression analyses were conducted to examine the efficiency of HR functions during the pandemic following principal component analysis. The use of ICT assures Human resource management performance efficiency without taking face-to-face interaction during the pandemic. Further, the findings will help practitioners to adopt ICT in the HRM perspective of all organizations and to make the decision about how much modification needs to be done to maximize overall efficiency within the limited resources during any pandemic.

Open Access Original Research Article

Coworking Spaces in Germany during the Covid-19 Crisis Utilized for Homeoffice and Homeschooling

Hermann Gruenwald

South Asian Journal of Social Studies and Economics, Page 57-67
DOI: 10.9734/sajsse/2020/v8i430219

Aims: To capture the perception of coworking space (CWS) users during the covid-19 crisis for homeoffice and homeschooling purposes in terms of process, physical evidence and people components of the service marketing mix.

Study Design:  This is a grounded theory study in nature which explores the users’ perceptions of coworking spaces.

Place and Duration of Study: Coworking spaces in Germany during the covid-19 crisis between March 2020 and August 2020.

Methodology: We included 200 respondents (88 male and 112 female; age range 18-88  years) who used the different services of various types of coworking spaces for  entertainment, business and or education purposes as employees, entrepreneurs, retirees or students.

Results: Very important for the process are comfort and atmosphere together with cleanliness and safety (Mean 3.48, SD 1.31, r = 0.529). The physical evidence mentioned location in terms of access and the facility itself (Mean 3.54, SD 1.11, r = 0.650). People (Mean 3.31, SD 1.27, r = 0.619) make the CWS function with management, staff and customer mix.

Conclusion: Coworking spaces received a big boost during the covid-19 crisis after initial lockdown and will continue to grow in the New Normal with homeoffice and on-line learning becoming the norm while CWS focus on process, physical evidence and people components of their marketing mix.

Open Access Original Research Article

Cost-benefit Analysis of Different Agroforestry Systems and Practices of Kaharole Upazila of Dinajpur District, Bangladesh

M. S. Rahman, P. R. Roy, M. M. Ali, M. S. Bari, I. J. Sarmin, M. A. Rahman

South Asian Journal of Social Studies and Economics, Page 87-97
DOI: 10.9734/sajsse/2020/v8i430221

A study was carried out to evaluate the costs and benefits of three agroforestry systems like homestead, cropland and orchard agroforestry of Kaharole Upazila under Dinajpur district of Bangladesh. An extensive field survey and measurements were conducted during July 2017 to January 2018 at different unions and villages of Kaharole upazila. A multistage random sampling procedure was followed in this study to select the survey area. A pre-structured questionnaire was used for collecting the benefits and costs data. A total of 60 agroforestry practices including 20 homesteads, 20 orchards and 20 croplands were evaluated for cost and benefit analysis. Initial three years costs and income data were collected from the field survey. A projection of seven years cost and income was also produced using regression model. Results of the production cost analysis showed that significantly maximum production cost was in orchard agroforestry system (Tk. 98987 per ha.) followed by cropland (Tk. 90238 per ha.) and minimum in homestead system (Tk. 10854 per ha.) in the 1st year. But production cost decreasing trend was recorded in the successive years in all the systems. In case of gross income analysis showed that though initial income was significantly lower in orchard agroforestry followed by cropland and homestead but after tenth year higher income was found in orchard agroforestry system (Tk. 564758 per ha.) followed by cropland (Tk. 251914 per ha) and homestead (Tk.234234 per ha) agroforestry system. However, the net income indicated that orchard agroforestry system was financially more profitable than cropland and homestead agroforestry systems, but the benefit-cost ratio (BCR) was higher in homestead as well as cropland agroforestry systems and lower in orchard agroforestry system. On the other hand guava based agroforestry practice was more lucrative than all other practices. In spite of higher BCR of homestead agroforestry, farmers in the study area widely practiced the orchard agroforestry. It appears that the farmers’ decision regarding what kind of land use they will adopt depends not on the BCR, but largely on the net amount of income that they earn.

Open Access Original Research Article

The Lived Experiences of Construction Workers during COVID-19 Pandemic: In Suburban Case

Celeste A. De Asis

South Asian Journal of Social Studies and Economics, Page 98-103
DOI: 10.9734/sajsse/2020/v8i430222

The lived experiences of construction workers are explored in this study.  The twelve construction workers were interviewed face-to-face to solicit their struggles and sufferings during the COVID-19 pandemic. The data gathered from the respondents were analyzed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. In the analysis, the major themes identified were Knowledge of COVID-19, Initial Reaction, Financial Assistance Received, Life during Work Suspension and Challenges experienced as Construction Workers. Fear of infection and worry for their family were the initial reactions of all the respondents upon hearing of this CoVID-19 virus. For them to cope with the crisis during the work suspension period they resorted to an alternative way of livelihoods like went to farming, copra selling, rice harvesting, and 'habal habal' driver.  Homesick is also one of the challenges being experienced by a construction worker for he cannot go home because of travel restrictions. 

Open Access Original Research Article

Structural Modelling of Psychological Limiting Factors for Economic Growth

Ntogwa Ng’habi Bundala

South Asian Journal of Social Studies and Economics, Page 104-117
DOI: 10.9734/sajsse/2020/v8i430223

The main objective of this paper was to develop a structural model of psychological limiting factors for economic growth. Specifically, the paper aimed to determine the psychological demographic characteristics, psychological environmental factors, psychological human behaviour and psychological economic factors those influence economic outputs in Kagera and Mwanza regions in Tanzania. The paper used the cross-sectional survey/data from Mwanza and Kagera regions. The sample size of the study was 211 individuals, randomly sampled. The data analysed by using Partial Least Square-Structural Equation Modelling (PLS-SEM) method. The study found that  psychological demographic characteristics, psychological human behaviour and psychological economic factors have significant direct impacts on economic growth. However, the  psychological environmental factors have a negative impact on the economic growth, but   it is not statistically significant.  Moreover, the study established the quasi-sinusoidal theory of happiness timing, which explains the nature and timing of happiness of an individual on boosting the economic growth, which responds to Easterlin Paradoxical paradigm. The study concluded that the economic output (GDP) in any production system is depends on how economic agents define their own “live value” (psychological well-being) and the level of psychological control of factors of production (subjective well-being). However, the optimality of utility choices of the economic agents’ decision is enclosed by level of happiness (psychological outcome). Hence Kagera region is performing worse because of its low psychological well-being. The paper suggested the implementation of psychological booster strategies (PBS) such as the homing nurtures, mental balance exercises programmes and establishment of youth economic support (YES) centres.

Open Access Original Research Article

Do Environmental Policy Stringency Promote Human Development in Developing Countries?

Tsomb Tsomb Etienne Inédit Blaise

South Asian Journal of Social Studies and Economics, Page 118-131
DOI: 10.9734/sajsse/2020/v8i430224

This article analyses the effect of multilaterals environmental agreements (MEAs), the Ministry of Environment and Environmental Democracy on human development in developing countries. The sample comprises 72 countries and the data cover the period from 1995 to 2017. The analysis is carried out in cross-section and the estimation technique is that of double least squares. The results show that MEAs, the ministry of environment and environmental democracy increase the human development index. The results also show that MEAs reduce child mortality, income inequality, and improve secondary school completion rates. Finally, our results indicate that climate change, level of development and geographical location impact on human development in developing countries. We therefore recommend that these countries promote environmental policy stringency while improving their level of governance.

Open Access Original Research Article

Psychological Impact on the Eating Behaviors of University Students

Danesh Karunanayake, M. W. D. S. M. Jayasooriya, N. D. U. Vimukthi

South Asian Journal of Social Studies and Economics, Page 132-141
DOI: 10.9734/sajsse/2020/v8i430225

Unhealthy dietary habits are among the major risk factors for chronic diseases, particularly if adopted during the early years of adulthood. They are becoming more frequent due to the nutritional transition that is affecting populations across developing countries where traditional healthy diets are being progressively replaced by more westernized dietary patterns. Students generally develop unhealthy eating habits during their stay at the university. University Students’ eating behavior seemed to be moderated by university characteristics, such as residency, student societies, university lifestyle, and exams. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to explore, how such factors psychologically influence Sri Lankan university students’ eating behavior,using a qualitative research design. Applying a semi-structured interview method, six interviews were conducted with 2 male and 4 female university students selected under the convenient sampling method from the University of Peradeniya. All the collected data were analyzed using the thematic analysis method. Results showed that after the transition from secondary school to university, when independence increases, students are continuously challenged to make healthy food choices. Students eating behavior is reported to be influenced by individual factors (e.g. taste preferences, self-discipline, time and convenience), their social networks (e.g. (lack of) parental control, friends and peers), and physical environment (e.g. availability and accessibility, appeal and prices of food products).

Open Access Original Research Article

Investigating the Determinants of Work-life Balance (WLB): Insights from Generation Y Employees in Sri Lanka

W. D. N. S. M. Tennakoon, R. B. C. P. Senarathne

South Asian Journal of Social Studies and Economics, Page 142-154
DOI: 10.9734/sajsse/2020/v8i430226

Aims: Previous studies show a significant attitudinal difference between Generation Y and others in the context of Work-Life Balance. The present study aimed at finding promising factors and the magnitude of them in affecting Work-Life Balance of Generation Y employees.

Study Design: The study was a quantitative, cross-sectional inquiry of the determinants of Work-Life Balance which equipped an email survey (N = 213).

Place and Duration of Study: The was primarily based on Kandy District of Sri Lanka. Approximately, the study stood for six months (February 2019 to August 2019).

Methodology: Determinants of Work-Life Balance, namely; Flexibility & freedom, Motivation, Job satisfaction, Feedback & support and Technological adaption were tested for their influence over Work-Life Balance. The survey instrument had 32 items of which the responses were measured against a five-point Likert scale. A Google form of the instrument was e-mailed to respondents (85.2% response rate). Data was analyzed using univariate and multivariate techniques.

Results: Results of multiple regression analysis detected Job satisfaction (β = .287; p < .001), Flexibility & freedom (β = .198; p < .001) and Feedback & support (β = .181; p < .001) as principal determinants of the Work-Life Balance of Generation Y employees. Technological adaption (p >.001) and Motivation (p > .001) found insignificant in affecting Work-Life Balance of Generation Y employees. 

Conclusion: The study was theoretically profound as it refined determinants of Work-Life Balance determinants specific to Generation Y. Practically, findings are useful in crafting any action plan towards enhancing Work-Life Balance of Generation Y employees who are currently the most active group in the workforce.