Open, inclusive and diverse societies are better for business and better for economic growth. This report presents the evidence base that supports this: it demonstrates that businesses thrive in tolerant societies and that the spread of anti-LGB&T policies runs counter to the interests of business and economic development.

The report draws upon the global perspectives of the companies supporting Open For Business, and they have contributed their experience and expertise on the business case for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGB&T) inclusion. It also incorporates the perspectives of activists in countries that are on the front-line of LGB&T discrimination, to ensure it is grounded in local country realities.

There are many strands of work which have studied the subject from different angles, including economic growth and development, business performance and productivity, and human resources and talent management. This report brings these together for the first time. As a result, this report represents the most comprehensive evidence base yet published on this subject.

The report begins with an overview of the Global Situation: in many parts of the world, recent years have seen a growing a culture of respect for LGB&T individuals, and their ability to fully participate in society is protected by law. In other parts of the world, there is rising antagonism towards LGB&T people, who are suffering discrimination at the hands of politicians and lawmakers.

The report then looks at the economic opportunities associated with LGB&T inclusion, and the business risks of operating in territories that practice discrimination against LGB&T individuals.

The Economic Cost of Stigma and the Exclusion of LGBT People: A Case Study of India M. V. Lee Badgett, Ph.D. October 2014

Human rights and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people are usually considered through a social, cultural, or ethical lens, but equality and inclusion of LGBT people are also economic development issues. This report develops a model to estimate the economic cost of stigma—negative attitudes toward LGBT people—and the exclusion of LGBT people in social institutions such as education, employment, families, and health care. The model is applied to a case study of India.
Three major findings emerge from this report. Clear evidence of stigma and exclusion exists for LGBT people in India.

Data on public opinion from 2006 shows that 41 percent of Indians would not want a homosexual neighbor, and 64 percent believe that homosexuality is never justified. Negative attitudes have diminished over time, however.
• Homosexual behavior is criminalized in India, no protective legislation exists for LGB people, and transgender people in India have only recently been accorded full legal rights and recognition through a Supreme Court decision.
• LGBT people in India report experiences of violence, rejection, and discrimination, including in employment, education, health care, and access to social services. High rates of poverty are found in some studies of LGBT people.
• Public health studies find evidence of health disparities that are linked to stigma and exclusion. Rates of the prevalence of depression, suicidal thinking, and HIV among LGBT people are higher than rates for the general population.

The effects of stigma and exclusion are potentially costly to economies. A conceptual model links exclusion of LGBT people and economic development through (1) lower productivity and lower output as a result of employment discrimination and constraints on labor supply; (2) inefficient investment in human capital because of lower returns to education and discrimination in educational settings; (3) lost output as a result of health disparities that are linked to exclusion; and (4) social and health services required to address the effects of exclusion that might be better spent elsewhere.

In India, existing research does not allow for a precise estimate of the cost of LGBT exclusion, but the cost could be substantial. The loss of labor productivity and output because of employment discrimination and the loss of life years due to early death or disability will reduce the economic output of the Indian economy. With better research on the lived experiences of LGBT people, researchers could use existing analytical tools to estimate the total cost of LGBT exclusion.
Recommendations for future research priorities include studying LGBT poverty, developing data on LGBT people to accelerate research, and building a research infrastructure. In addition, assessing actual anti-poverty interventions and ongoing public and private efforts to reduce homophobia and LGBT exclusion should be a high priority so that effective programs can be considered for scaling up.