Research Team

Working Remotely in the Age of COVID: Who is Left Behind?

Better information on the types of workers who are able to continue to carry out their tasks from home can help the government to design policies to reduce disruptions to economic activities. This blog examines the plausibility to WFH for different types of workers in Sri Lanka.

RCEP: Sri Lanka’s Latest Asia-centric Conundrum

The formation of the world’s largest regional trade bloc – the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in November 2020 – on Sri Lanka’s doorstep raises fresh questions about how the country will navigate its most recent Asia-centric re-positioning.

Reducing Health Costs and Increasing Government Revenue beyond COVID-19: A Case for Raising Cigarette Taxes in Sri Lanka

Increasing and simplifying excise taxes are prescribed by the WHO Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) and are the most cost-effective tools that governments can employ to reduce smoking rates. However, the tobacco industry strongly opposes raising taxes on cigarettes. Further, Sri Lanka has some misinformed cigarette taxation practices in place. This blog shows the fallacies in these arguments and practices, and highlights the importance of streamlining taxation policies in the country, with the objective of reducing smoking prevalence and reducing smoking related health costs.

Coping with COVID-19: Economics of Social Media Based Business in Sri Lanka during Crises

As of January 2018, there were six million active social media users in Sri Lanka, accounting for 30% of the population. Given the complete cessation of usual business practices in Sri Lanka for the past six weeks, due to prolonged curfew, businesses of all sizes have begun to use social media as their preferred platform to continue commercial activities. For instance, many major supermarkets and other vendors have also started connecting to their customers directly via platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook. Similarly, social media based Micro, Small, and Medium Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) have also attempted to restart their service provision, amidst several limitations. This blog discusses the impact of crises on social media based MSMEs in Sri Lanka.

COVID-19 and the Road Ahead for Sri Lanka’s Three Wheeler Industry

Sri Lanka has been under curfew since mid-March to contain the spread of COVID-19. As a result, economic activities throughout the country have stalled. A recent IPS blog identified that non-agricultural, informal workers were highly affected by this pandemic. This blog illustrates how the ongoing curfew is impacting three wheeler drivers in Sri Lanka, based on mobile phone conversations with three wheeler drivers from Colombo, Kegalle, and Galle districts.