The news from a recent study shows that businesses come up with more ideas when they anti-discrimination policies in place.
‘In our research we examine the effect of US state-level ENDAs (state-level employment nondiscrimination acts) on innovation,’ researchers Huasheng Gao and Wei Zhang write in the Harvard Business Review.
‘We found that the adoption of ENDAs led to a significant increase in innovation output.’
The study tested creativity based on the number of patents a business filed.
Firms in states with these ENDAs developed almost 10% more patents, and they were more likely to be cited by other papers, too.
The study, published in June in Management Science, was exhaustive. It looked at data over thousands of firms – in fact, ‘almost all U.S. public firms that actively filed patents’, they say – between the years 1976 to 2008.
From the data they claim they can see that around ‘2 years’ after the implementation of these policies these results start to show up.
Furthermore, these results were greatest with firms that employ white collar workers, and in states in the US with relatively more LGBT people.
Gao and Zhang think their research shows it’s not just companies, but people, who are more creative the more pro-LGBT they are.
‘At the individual level, the inventors who move in tend to produce 30% more patents than the inventors moving out.
‘[This] is consistent with the view that pro-LGBT individuals tend to be more creative than anti-LGBT individuals.’
These results contradict a criticism right wing business leaders often make against better protections for LGBT people in the workplace: for example, that it’s a case of government overreach and it restricts the free market.
However, workplace discrimiantion is a big problem in the US still, according to a 2012 study from the Williams Institute, a UCLA thinktank.