Key findings: The economic benefits of adopting a disability-inclusive approach to development are widely acknowledged, but these benefits are complex and difficult to quantify. As a result, few empirical studies provide a sustained analysis of them. Furthermore, there are few reports or evaluations from implementing agencies that present evidence on the economic impacts of their disability-inclusive interventions, except for isolated examples in the areas of microfinance, employment support, agriculture and education.
This report provides an overview of the literature on the economic benefits of adopting a disability-inclusive approach to development. It presents examples of good practice in the area of disability-inclusive development, with a particular focus on the economic benefits of adopting this approach.
Most efforts to present a cost-benefit analysis of disability have focused on the cost side. Assessing the benefits of addressing issues relating to disability (for individuals, households and society as a whole) is closely related to, though not the same as, assessing these costs. The economic costs (and by extension the benefits) can occur at two levels: they can relate to people with disability themselves and their families or households, and to society as a whole. This report examines the following costs in greater detail.
Costs to people with disabilities and their families:
- additional costs of disability
- loss of income for people with disabilities and their families due to lower pay and unemployment
- loss of education for people with disabilities and their families/households
- lack of access to credit schemes.
Costs to the state/society:
- loss of productivity
- loss of taxes
- public spending on disability programmes.