||Greater inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in emerging economies is positively associated with a country’s economic development, according to this study. The findings suggest that LGBT equality should be part of economic development programs and policies. The study analyzes the impact of the treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people on economic development in 39 emerging economies and other selected countries, and presents findings that demonstrate a link between LGBT rights and economic output. The study uses, for the first time, the Global Index on Legal Recognition of Homosexual Orientation (GILRHO, created by Dutch law professor Kees Waaldijk) which establishes eight categories of legal recognition and protection for lesbians and gay men. The study also uses a provisional index on transgender rights.
The study (online at www.usaid.gov and at williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu) finds:
* A positive correlation between per capita GDP and legal rights for LGB and transgender people across countries. Using a regression model to account for other factors that influence development, the relationship remains strong. One additional right in the GILRHO is associated with approximately $320 in GDP per capita, or about 3 percent of the average GDP per capita in the sample countries. An increase in GILRHO is also associated with a higher human development index (HDI) value.
* A steady increase in the level of rights of lesbians and gay men in emerging economies. On average, the countries in the study recognized one right relating to sexual orientation in 1990. By 2011, that number increased to over three rights according to the GILRHO.
The researchers also found substantial evidence in many countries that discrimination and violence against LGBT people create economic harms for individuals that also affect a country’s economic performance.