Media Matters for America

New Research Counters Myth That Banning Discrimination Against LGBT People Is “Economically Harmful”

Researchers Found Innovators Flock To States That Prevent Discrimination Against LGBT Workers

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Recently published research highlighted by the Harvard Business Review found that states with laws that ban employment discrimination against LGBT Americans saw a direct increase in business innovation — counter to right-wing media myths that such laws result in negative interference in the market.

According to a study published on June 15 by the journal Management Science, “state-level employment nondiscrimination acts (ENDAs) — laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity — spur innovation” among firms headquartered in those states. The study’s authors — finance professor Huasheng Gao and economist Wei Zhang — published an op-ed on August 17 in the Harvard Business Review highlighting their findings that states that protect employees with ENDAs see an increase in innovators moving to those states and a boost in business productivity. The research found that “firms headquartered in states that passed ENDAs experienced an 8% increase in the number of patents and an 11% increase in the number of patent citations, relative to firms headquartered in states that did not pass such a law.” The researchers concluded that this change was a result of individuals moving based on their approval or disapproval of the change in the law and theorized that “pro-LGBT individuals are likely to be more creative than the anti-LGBT ones” leading to companies in states that prohibit workplace discrimination having broader access to more creative talent…

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