Study says LGBT rights increase economic growth

Prof. Lee Badgett speaks at a forum in the House of Representatives
Prof. Lee Badgett speaks at a forum “The Cost of Exclusion” in the House of Representatives. She presents a study that shows a positive relationship between gender rights and economic growth.

Being more LGBT friendly actually increases a country’s economic growth, a 2011 study shows.

A professor from the University of Massachusetts said countries which are more inclusive to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community enjoy higher economic growth and human development.

Speaking in the forum “The Cost of Exclusion: A Congressional forum on the impact of discrimination against LGBTs on poverty and development” at the House of Representatives on Monday, Dr. Lee Badgett said there is a positive relationship between gender rights and economic development.

Dr. Badgett said in a statistical analysis of 39 emerging economies in 2011, the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita and Human Development Index are
higher in countries which are more LGBT friendly.

The economics professor from the University of Massachusetts said one right for LGBT results in a $320 increase in GDP per capita or representing three percent of GDP.

On the other hand, countries which are not LGBT inclusive suffer from lower economic development. She cited the countries of India, Morocco, Pakistan, Kenya, Egypt, and Indonesia.

“As you increase the number of rights in the country, these have higher levels of GDP per capita. The countries that do better, that are more inclusive, have better economic development outcomes,” Badgett said.

Dinagat Rep. Kaka Bag-ao, one of the main authors of the bill penalizing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (Sogi), said Badgett’s study underscores the need for Congress to pass the controversial measure.

“Badgett’s study underscores the need to pass the anti-discrimination bill. Discrimination limits our full potential as a human being and a member of a family. It adversely affect the economic and social conditions of a country. LGBT inclusion also drives economic development,” Bag-ao said.

The Philippine House of Representatives is set to debate on the Anti Sogi Discrimination bill, which seeks to penalize discriminatory practices such as bias against employees, refusal to admit a person in an institution, denial of access to health services and harassment by law enforcers due to sexual orientation and gender identity.

Dr. Badgett is a professor of economics and a director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

She is the author of the book “When Gay People Get Married: What Happens When Societies Legalize Same Sex Marriage,” which focuses on the experience of gay marriage in the United States and Europe. Her first book was “Money, Myths and Change: The Economic Lives of Lesbians and Gay Men,” which debunked the myth of gay affluence.

Dr. Badgett also co-edited the book “Sexual Orientation Discrimination: An International Perspective.”

See a copy of Dr. Badgett’s study on the cost of homophobia in India below:

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