Paula Vedoveli

Assistant Professor

I am Assistant Professor of History at the School of International Relations at Getulio Vargas Foundation. I earned a B.A. in History (Summa cum Laude) from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, an M.A. in International Relations from the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, and a PhD. in History from Princeton University (2019).

My book manuscript, tentatively titled Brokering Capital: The Development of Latin American Public Credit at International Financial Markets, 1852-1914, examines how Brazil and Argentina emerged as massive debtors in the second half of the nineteenth century. Brokering Capital maps the incomplete transition from a cosmopolitan regime of sovereign risk assessment based on personal judgment and private capital to a regime of financial credibility supported by the expansion of economic indicators and credit-ratings. It shows that financial actors gradually turned to numbers as the main indicators of repayment capacity as their confidence on the ability of merchant bankers’ to accurately evaluate sovereign risk waned amid the emergence of New York as the main international capital market in the first decades of the twentieth century.

Brokering Capital argues that the nineteenth-century cosmopolitan regime of sovereign credibility was fundamentally dependent on the performance of “credibility brokers,” actors who bridged structural holes in the financial networks that linked borrowing governments in Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires to creditors in London and Paris. Because credibility brokers–diplomats, journalists, bankers, entrepreneurs, and the occasional opportunist–were able to manage the flow of information between decision-makers in borrowing countries and bankers in international capital markets, they shaped financial intermediaries’ capacity to assess sovereign risk and consequently debtors’ bargaining power and ability to make and sustain credible commitments. In doing so, they acquired considerable power and prestige and emerged as the éminence grise in the making of a global financial architecture.

Over the last years, I have conducted multi-archival research in the United Kingdom, the United States, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, and France. I am interested in the global history of capitalism, the history of quantification and calculation, the history of information, the history of the future, the history of technology, and the social and cultural history of the long nineteenth century.

Twitter: @paulavedoveli