Rachel L. Wellhausen, Ph.D.
Department of Government
University of Texas at Austin
2021-22: Visiting Associate Professor
McDonough School of Business
Rachel L. Wellhausen is an Associate Professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin. In 2021-22, Rachel will be a Visiting Associate Professor at the Georgetown McDonough School of Business, in the Strategy, Economics, Ethics, and Public Policy group.
Rachel's primary field of interest is international political economy, and specifically the political economy of international investment and finance. Broadly, her research agenda speaks to developing nations' policy flexibility given economic globalization, and the ways in which multinational corporations understand and manage resulting political risks. The first strand of her research focuses on multinationals' and governments' interactions in the context of dispute settlement and international investment law, which builds on her book The Shield of Nationality: When Governments Break Contracts with Foreign Firms (Cambridge University Press 2015).
In another strand of research, Rachel studies "economic semi-sovereigns," or liminal political units with access to economic autonomy but not the full sovereignty available to recognized nation-states. Because semi-sovereigns can be state or non-state actors depending on the circumstances, they encounter an unrivaled set of possibilities in (international) political economy. In her book project, The Politics of Sovereignty in the Global Economy, she explores the consequences with evidence from American Indian/Alaskan Native Nations, US territories, and US associated states. In related work, Rachel is collaborating with the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Center for Indian Country Development and Native partners to address inequitable access to financial services in Native communities.
Additionally, Rachel is pursuing scientific uncertainty as a disrupting force in international political economy, arguing that actors on the international stage can leverage confidence intervals foundational to the scientific process in pursuit of preferred regulation. She is working on a manuscript to spell out these arguments, Scientific Uncertainty and International Relations (under contract, Cambridge Elements Series). Ongoing research focuses on an extreme outlier, in which neither firms nor governments can reasonably claim that the science is uncertain -- (literally) dirty international trade in waste. These interests build on her co-edited book, Production in the Innovation Economy (MIT Press 2014, with Richard M. Locke), which resulted from MIT's interdisciplinary project on innovation and production.
Rachel has published in the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, International Organization, Journal of Politics, Quarterly Journal of Political Science, AEA Papers and Proceedings, British Journal of Political Science, International Studies Quarterly, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Review of International Organizations, Cambridge University Press, MIT Press, and other outlets. She received the Best Book Award (2015-2017) from the International Political Economy Society; the award for the best paper in political economy (American Political Science Association, 2016); and the award for the best dissertation in political economy (American Political Science Association, 2011-2012).
At UT Austin, Rachel is co-director of Innovations for Peace and Development, an interdisciplinary research lab that provides mentored research opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students. She also holds courtesy appointments in the Business, Government, and Society Department at the McCombs School of Business and at the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. Previously, Rachel was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance at Princeton University. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and she holds a M.Sc. with Distinction in European Political Economy: Transition from the London School of Economics. She is a graduate of the Honors College at the University of Arizona and with a B.A. in Economics, a B.A. in English with Honors, and a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies (Russian Studies, German Studies, and Political Science).