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World Bank: Homophobia costs Indian economy 30.8 billion dollars

André Rhoden-Paul June 16, 2014
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KOLKATA, INDIA: Indian members of the Integration Society, an organization committed to the defence of human rights and sexual freedom, apply make-up as they take part in a march entitled "Walk on the Rainbow" in Kolkata, 26 June 2005 to commemorate the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York, said to be the birth of the Gay Liberation Movement. Some hundred members took part in the march even as homosexuality in India stands criminalized because of a mid 19th century colonial law, as the section 377 of the Indian Penal Code enacted by the British in 1860 criminalizes what it calls, "sexual offences against the order of nature". AFP PHOTO/DESHAKALYAN chowdhury (Photo credit should read DESHAKALYAN CHOWDHURY/AFP/Getty Images)

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.

  1. LGBT individuals receive lower wages due to workplace and education discrimination, which reduces the governments tax income.
  2. A higher poverty rate due to low income leads to more government spending on social programs.
  3. 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.

Related topics: Asia, economic impact of homophobia, economic inequality, homophia, India, India, World Bank

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