There are many reasons for countries to provide legal protections for LGBT individuals, most having to do with morality and social justice. Now, there’s one based on pure economics.
“Countries that adopt more rights for the LGBT population will grow more quickly and have better social development,'” said Yana Rodgers, a Rutgers University professor of gender studies who co-authored a new report released by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
As MyCentralJersey.com reports, the report find that each new right a country grants LGBT individuals translates to GDP growth of $320 per capita. That amounts to a 3 percent increase in the nations studied by Rodgers and her team. (In addition to lead author Lee Badgett, Williams distinguished scholar and director of the center for public policy and administration at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Rodgers worked with Sheila Nezhad, former public policy fellow at the Williams Institute, and Kees Waaldijk, professor of comparative sexual orientation law, Leiden Law School, The Netherlands.)
According to the report, LGBT individuals make up between 1 and 5 percent of the world’s population, and yet in many countries, they’re denied opportunities that would enable them to improve their lives and become more productive members of society. Many are harassed by the police and subjected to violence and discrimination in the workplace. What’s more, discrimination in the education system prevents many from receiving the skills and certifications they’d need to build strong careers.
While similar studies have been done before, this is the first one that looks specifically at how legal protections influence economic growth. In terms of legal protections, researchers used an eight-category inclusiveness index developed by a Dutch legal professor.
“This research provides a new window into understanding the extent to which stigma and discrimination against LGBT people affect a country’s economy,” said Badgett.