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The Economic Costs of Exclusion and Gains of Inclusion of People with Disabilities


With the landmark passing of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), ratifying countries pledged to promote the full inclusion of people with disabilities in all areas of society.However, many nations have struggled to make significant progress in implementing the commitments set forth by the Convention.

The extensive exclusion of people with disabilities from society is indefensible from a human rights and social justice perspective. However, while this may be widely acknowledged, there is a common perception that inclusive interventions are not financially feasible particularly in the resource-constrained settings of many low and middle income countries (LMICs).

Although the human rights case alone is sufficient to necessitate action, there is also evidence that promoting inclusion of people with disabilities is beneficial from an economic standpoint. Some individual studies have estimated the costs of exclusion and potential gains from inclusion in areas such as work or education, however a comprehensive economics-based argument has not been extensively detailed.

This report seeks to explore the potential pathways through which exclusion of people with disabilities may generate economic costs to individuals, their families and societies at large. Additionally, potential economic gains that may be realised through inclusion are investigated.

Courtesy of CBM and the International Centre for Evidence in Disability.

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