Study Finds Link Between GLBT Inclusion and Economic Development in Emerging Economies

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US Agency for International Development (USAID) has strengthened it’s commitment to the global GLBT community following the recent Global Conference on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Rights and Inclusive Development where a new study has found a link and relationship between GLBT inclusion and economic development in emerging economies.

At the Global Conference on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Rights and Inclusive Development held this year in the United States, there was representation from over 30 nations. USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah keynoted the closing session of the conference with a strong commitment to the GLBT community. He said, “The United States is committed to seeing that children around the world who want to become doctors, entrepreneurs or even politicians don’t get sidelined.” He went on to say, “The consequences of discrimination are unacceptable, and the United States is pioneering efforts to ensure that our foreign policy is infused with the fight for the rights of GLBT individuals.” Other speakers included Lars Bo Moller, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Denmark, and Frederic Jensen, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of France.

Earlier, the Williams Institute and USAID, partners in the GLBT Global Development Partnership, released a study showing that if a nation provides more legal rights to the GLBT community, it can result in a higher per capita GDP. One of the study’s lead authors, M.V. Lee Badgett, the Director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, presented the findings of the study during a panel discussion at the University of California Washington Center.

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The study found a link and relationship between GLBT inclusion and economic development in emerging economies. The authors of the study, aside from Badgett, are Sheila Nezhad, Kees Waaldijk and Yana van der Meulen Rodgers. They looked at and analyzed the impact of social inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people on economic development in 39 countries. They wanted to see whether denying GLBT people their human rights because of their identities was likely to have a harmful effect on a country’s level of economic development. They looked at several theoretical frameworks such as the human capital approach, “where inclusion allows GLBT people to achieve their economic potential when they are allowed to get their education and training and are treated equally in the labor market,” and the capabilities approach, which “suggests that greater rights and freedoms improve individual well-being by expanding individuals’ capabilities to be and do what they value.”

Article | Levi Joule

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