The Return on Investment of Social Inclusion: An Evidence Gap Analysis from Developing Countries
This post is written by Erin Markel and Friederike Strub. Erin Markel is co-founder and principal at MarketShare Associates and the strategic technical advisor for Feed the Future Market Systems and Partnerships (MSP) Activity Social Inclusion (SI) Learning Stream. Friederike Strub is a research associate at MarketShare Associates.
This brief, The Return on Investment of Social Inclusion—An Evidence Gap Analysis from Developing Countries, analyzes the existing literature from developing countries on how firms invest in SI and measure its return on investment (ROI). It then analyzes existing evidence gaps and makes recommendations on how firms and USAID partners working in private sector engagement (PSE) and market systems development (MSD) can improve their investments and fill evidence gaps.
Key takeaways explored more in this brief include:
- Evidence on many commonly cited SI investments (e.g., diversity in leadership) is largely limited to developed geographies.
- Three pathways to SI have an existing evidence base informing the ROI in developing country contexts: safety and gender-based violence prevention, workplace culture and benefits, and talent.
- Significant evidence gaps remain regarding the ROI of inclusion of women and other marginalized communities as suppliers and consumers.
- Following five clear recommendations at the end of the brief will enable firms and USAID PSE and MSD partners to help fill the ROI evidence gap and better inform future investments in SI.
The Feed the Future MSP Activity is advancing learning and good practice in MSD and PSE within USAID, USAID partners and market actors. Through MSP, USAID is undertaking a series of evidence gathering around the benefits of workplace diversity and inclusion in developing countries, led by MSP partner MarketShare Associates. This SI ROI evidence gap analysis brief is the second in a series on this topic. For more information, see the first brief: How the Private Sector Measures Return on Investment: A Framework to Inform Future Research.