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Integrating Equality: Globalization, Women's Rights, and Human Trafficking


  • Author's notes: The author would like to thank Eric Neumayer, Niklas Potrafke, Krishna Chaitanya Vadlamannati, and Maria Ziegler for their helpful comments. The author cordially acknowledges the generous funding provided by the European Commission. Please direct correspondence to Seo-Young Cho at Replication data is available at the ISQ data archive web site at


This paper empirically investigates whether globalization can improve women's rights. Using panel data from 150 countries over the 1981–2008 period, I find that social globalization positively affects women's economic and social rights. When controlling for social globalization, however, economic globalization does not have any effect on women's rights. Despite the positive effect of (social) globalization on women's standing in a country, (marginalized) foreign women, proxied with inflows of human trafficking, are not beneficiaries of such “female-friendly” globalization effects.