Jacqueline Best


Jacqueline Best

Bureau: 613-562-5800 ext. 1719
Courriel professionnel: jbest@uOttawa.ca

Jacqueline Best


Faculty of Social Sciences
School of Political Studies

Research focus

Jacqueline Best’s research is in international relations and political economy. She studies international finance with a particular interest in economic crises, the politics of inflation and central banking, and the power of economic ideas. Empirically, much of her research is historical—looking at how governments in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada have tried to address past crises and how their responses to those crises shaped the world we are in today.

Research relevance 

Best’s current research is motivated by a desire to understand the challenges of our present political moment by tracing the links and tensions between democracy, politics and the economy over time. Her writings often reveal the unexpected—as she examines the role of failure, ignorance, exceptionalism or ambiguity in global politics. Best’s work is always shaped by current concerns, with the ultimate goal being to understand the times that we are living in today—and, ideally, to start to think about how we might build a more inclusive and just economy in Canada and around the world.

Understanding economic crises—past and present

Best is an internationally-renowned scholar in the fields of international relations and political economy.

Her most recent SSHRC-funded Insight Grant was inspired by her desire to make sense of the long slow recovery from the 2008 global financial crisis and more recently by the rise of right-wing populism. This research seeks to find some answers for our current political dilemmas by looking back to an earlier crisis: the “war on inflation” in the 1970s and early 1980s, which was in many ways the crucible in which our present political economic order was formed.

Best’s work seeks to re-evaluate the early history of neoliberal policies in the UK, the US and Canada, complicating conventional narratives of a singular, coherent and largely successful neoliberalism by focusing on the pervasive role of ignorance and failure, as well as the uneven recourse to economic exceptionalism. In the process, she hopes to open up some space for imagining a different political and economic future.

Best’s research findings have been published in many of the leading journals in international relations, political economy and social theory, including Review of International Political EconomyInternational Studies QuarterlyInternational Political SociologyEconomy and Society, and New Political Economy.

She has also published four important books, including The Limits of Transparency (Cornell University Press 2005), Cultural Political Economy (with Matthew Paterson, Routledge 2010), The Return of the Public in Global Governance (with Alexandra Gheciu, Cambridge University Press 2014), and Governing Failure (Cambridge University Press 2014).

Best has been a co-editor of the Review of International Political Economy journal and the RIPE Routledge Book Series, both leading publishing outlets in the field of international political economy.

She is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including five SSHRC grants as Principal Investigator and, most recently, the prestigious Leverhulme Trust’s Visiting Professorship Award.

Best also frequently writes for a wider audience—through opinion pieces, blogs and more popular articles published in The Globe and MailForeign AffairsCurrent History, and Ethics & International Affairs.

Awards and accomplishments

  • Awarded prestigious British Leverhulme Foundation’s Visiting Professorship for “outstandingly distinguished academics based in overseas universities” in 2018
  • Published numerous articles with top-ranked journals, and monographs with Cornell University Press and Cambridge University Press.
  • Co-editor of Review of International Political Economy journal.
  • First non-science professor to be awarded the university-wide Young Research of the Year award at the University of Ottawa in 2006.
  • Principal investigator on five major SSHRC grants (Insight, Standard and Connection).
  • Books short-listed for the Canadian Political Science Association International Relations Book Prize (2015) and the IPEG Book Prize, British International Studies Association (2006).
  • Visiting scholar at the University of Sheffield, Oxford University, and the University of Queensland.
Back to top