Rachel L. Wellhausen is an Assistant Professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin. She is also an Assistant Professor (by courtesy) in the Business, Government, and Society Department at the McCombs School of Business. She is the winner of discipline-wide awards for the best book, article, and dissertation in her field of international political economy.
International Law & Organization
International Political Economy
Foreign Direct Investment
Business And Politics
Rachel's primary field of interest is the political economy of international investment and finance. Her current research focuses on political risk; international investment law; the politics of sovereign debt management; and the political economy of semi-sovereign territories, dependencies, and indigenous lands.
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.