Rachel Wellhausen, Ph.D.


University of Texas at Austin

Country: United States (Texas)

About Me:

Rachel L. Wellhausen is an Associate Professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin. She is also an Associate Professor (by courtesy) in the Business, Government, and Society Department at the McCombs School of Business and an affiliate of the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies.  Rachel is co-director of Innovations for Peace and Development, an interdisciplinary research program at UT Austin that provides mentored research opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students. Previously she was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance at Princeton University. Her book, The Shield of Nationality (Cambridge University Press 2015) won the Best Book Award (2015-2017) from the International Political Economy Society. The dissertation on which the book is based won the Mancur Olson Award from the American Political Science Association for the best dissertation in political economy (2011-2012). Rachel has published in the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, International Organization, Journal of Politics, Quarterly Journal of Political Science, British Journal of Political Science, International Studies Quarterly, Journal of Conflict Resolution, and other outlets. She received the Michael Wallerstein Award from the American Political Science Association for the best paper published in political economy in 2016, with Leslie Johns.

Research Interests

Political Economy

International Law & Organization

Political Risk

International Political Economy

International Law

Sovereign Debt

Foreign Direct Investment

Business And Politics

Indigenous Global Politics

Indigenous Affairs Policy

Multinational Corporations

Global Finance

My Research:

Rachel's primary field of interest is international political economy, and specifically the political economy of international investment and finance. Her current research focuses on political risk; international investment law; the politics of sovereign debt management; equity issues around property rights; and the political economy of semi-sovereign territories and indigenous lands. 


Books Written:

(2015) The Shield of Nationality: When Governments Break Contracts with Foreign Firms, Cambridge University Press

There is extraordinary variation in how governments treat multinational corporations in emerging economies; in fact, governments around the world have nationalized or eaten away at the value of foreign-owned property in violation of international treaties. This even occurs in poor countries, where governments are expected to, at a minimum, respect the contracts they make with foreign firms lest foreign capital flee. In The Shield of Nationality, Rachel Wellhausen introduces foreign-firm nationality as a key determinant of firms' responses to government breaches of contract. Firms of the same nationality are likely to see a compatriot's broken contract as a forewarning of their own problems, leading them to take flight or fight. In contrast, firms of other nationalities are likely to meet the broken contract with apparent indifference. Evidence includes quantitative analysis and case studies that draw on field research in Ukraine, Moldova, and Romania.