A World Bank study has calculated homophobia costs the Indian economy $30.8 billion (£18.2 billion).
Author of the study and leading economist MV Lee Badgett used India as a case study, but claims its findings could be applied to any country.
The study also looks at how homophobia-related depression and suicide affects the economy.
Ms. Badgett found three major economic impacts of LGBT discrimination.
- LGBT individuals receive lower wages due to workplace and education discrimination, which reduces the governments tax income.
- A higher poverty rate due to low income leads to more government spending on social programs.
- High rates of depression, suicide and HIV/AIDS results in higher government health care costs
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Badgett said: “Homophobia exists in every country in the world, even those with formal equality where, for example, same sex marriage is legal.
“So this study uses India as a case study but its findings of economic costs could be applied to any country.”
Badgett suggested the preliminary findings of the study gives a different perspective to LGBT human rights, as it provides an economic argument for countries to improve LGBT attitudes.
“Arguing it is costly to exclude them could be a powerful reason for people who don’t see human rights as important. It’s a potentially powerful argument if you are mainly concerned about economic development,” he continued.