Alberto Gamboa


Ph.D Student

Financial History, Business History, Global/Transregional History, Late Modern Iberian American History

I am interested in Economics, in History, and in their interplay. I studied a joint B.A. in Economics and Law in Madrid (Spain) at the University Carlos III. In Geneva (Switzerland), I received my M. A. in International Economics at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID). My research at UPenn, where I am a Ph.D student, is focused on the history of financial capitalism. Broadly, I am interested in the history of sovereign debt markets and in how the institutional framework within which those markets developed allowed for innovative business and financial practices during the nineteenth century. I am also interested in the evolution of liberal and conservative ideas and practices in Europe and Latin America, especially in Ibero-America during the first half of the nineteenth century, and in their interaction with finance.

My dissertation project studies innovative debt instruments that were designed in the context of the First Carlist War in Spain (1833-1840) to manage war risks and to gain access to international financial markets. Additionally, I explore how war and debt repudiation in general affect the creation of debt instruments by the contenders and their performance. This research intends to combine economic and historical methodologies and questions in a transdisciplinary approach.


Dissertation Committee:

Marc Flandreau (advisor)

Sophia Rosenfeld

Antonio Feros


M. A. in International Economics, The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (Geneva, 2013-2015).

Joint B. A. in Economics and Law, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (Madrid, 2007-2013)

Research Interests
  • History of capitalism
  • Financial innovation 
  • Business history
  • Risk management, portfolio selection, insurance
  • Sovereign debt / Sovereignty and debt
  • Odious debt
  • Late modern Iberian American history
  • Finance & political cultures (liberalism v. conservatism)
Courses Taught

Hist 131: Financial Meltdowns, Past and Present (T.A., Fall 2017; Fall 2018)

Hist 071: Modern Latin America, 1801-Present (T.A., Spring 2019)

Hist 076: Africa since 1800 (T.A., Fall 2019)