An economist demonstrates how LGBT equality and inclusion within organizations increases their bottom line and allows for countries’ economies to flourish
We know that homophobia harms LGBT individuals in many ways, but economist M. V. Lee Badgett argues that in addition to moral and human rights reasons for equality, we can now also make a financial argument. Finding that homophobia and transphobia cost 1% or more of a country’s GDP, Badgett expertly uses recent research and statistics to analyze how these hostile practices and environments affect both the US and global economies.
LGBT equality remains a persistent and pertinent issue. The continued passing of discriminatory laws, people being fired from jobs for their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, harassment and bullying in school, violence and hate crimes on the streets, exclusion from intolerant families, and health effects of stigma all make it incredibly difficult to live a good life. Examining the consequences of anti-LGBT practices across multiple countries, including the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, India and the Philippines, Badgett reveals the expensive repercussions of hate and discrimination, and how our economy loses when we miss out on the full benefit of LGBT people’s potential contributions.
Badgett, a professor of economics at UMass Amherst, contends in her sober and well-documented debut that discrimination against LGBTQ people "means limiting the skills, knowledge, and abilities that are available to improve economies and societies." She details the unfair treatment of "sexual and gender minorities" in the realms of education, business, and healthcare, and presents evidence suggesting that when companies enact "LGBTQ-inclusive policies" whether voluntarily or to comply with state or federal laws employee innovation, productivity, and retention improve, as do bottom-line measures such as stock performance. Citing research she conducted for the World Bank, Badgett notes that homophobia and transphobia cost India as much as 1% of its gross domestic product. She offers data to prove that corporate advocacy drives both queer entrepreneurial success and broader social change, and that LGBTQ-friendly multinational corporations push local competitors to enact nondiscriminatory policies. Badgett's logical arguments and copious evidence will resonate with business leaders and policy makers, and human rights activists will appreciate her good-faith efforts to reassure them that the economic and moral arguments for reform are complementary. This cogent account makes a persuasive case that everyone benefits from LGBTQ equality.