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 work focuses on international relations with an emphasis on international financial governance and the ethics of economic globalization. Best delves deeply into questions of how social and cultural processes intersect with politics and financial markets, examining issues of morality in political economy through an empirical focus on policy discourses.

Research Relevance

Best’s incisive analysis of ambiguity in global financial governance is internationally regarded as a powerful lens through which to understand, and fundamentally reinterpret, the last 60 years of international financial history. Her most recent work examines the ethical dimensions of international economic finance and development, and is expected to impact the policy formations of major international organizations, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

Dissecting International Discourses

In combining original theoretical insights with significant empirical research, Best is bridging the gap between theory and practice, and is already having a profound impact on the study of international monetary and financial issues in the first four years of her post-doctoral work.

Her first book, published by Cornell University Press, The Limits of Transparency, challenges the common economic and political assumption that uncertainty is always a problem and transparency its best solution. In its careful engagement with the past and present policies of the IMF, her book raises significant policy issues, speaking to scholars in the fields of political economy, international relations, economic history and political sociology; it was even cited by the IMF in its latest review of its own transparency policy.

Best is also considered one of the leading pioneers of the constructivist perspective on political economy, an emerging school of thought which seeks to critically explore the central role of ideas in shaping political and economic policy. In pursuing this innovative research agenda, she is focusing on the challenges taking place in international governance in the aftermath of the financial and development crises of the 1990s.

Most recently, Best has begun to examine the role of morality and ethics in international economic governance by investigating a recent shift in both public statements and policy at the IMF and World Bank to use explicitly moral and political terms in reform policy after decades of using neutral and technical justifications for their policies. This is considered by peers in her field to be an understudied, creative and important area of research, one in which Best is anticipated to have a profound impact on an international audience.

Next year, she is also bringing together major scholars from Canada, the US and Europe to discuss the development of a new approach to studying economic questions that they are labeling “cultural political economy,” examining the ways in which economic activities are always embedded in cultural practices.

Awards and Accomplishments

  • Young Researcher of the Year Award (2006)
  • Shortlisted for the British International Studies Association International Political Economy Group Book Prize, 2006
  • Research Workshop Grant, Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada (ranked 6th by the committee), 2006-2007
  • Standard Research Grant, Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada (ranked 10th by the committee), 2005-2007
  • Newcombe Dissertation Fellowship, Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundation, 2001
  • Institute for the Study of World Politics Dissertation Fellowship, 2001
  • Margaret McWilliams Fellowship, Canadian Federation of University Women, 2001
  • Dean’s Teaching Fellowship, Johns Hopkins University, 2001
  • James Hart Fellowship, Johns Hopkins University, 2001
  • George E. Owen Fellowship, Johns Hopkins University, 1997-2001
  • Political Science Departmental Fellowship, Johns Hopkins University , 1997-2001
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship, 1997
  • Commonwealth Scholarship, UK, 1996
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