Jacqueline Best is a Leverhulme Visiting Professor at the University of Sheffield in 2019. She is a Professor in the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa.

Jacqueline is a member of the executive for the Centre for International Policy Studies at the University of Ottawa, and was the founding organizer of its International Political Economy Research Network.

She is currently an editor of the journal Review of International Political Economy. She is also a member of the editorial board for International Political Sociology and the Cambridge Studies in International Relations Book Series. Between 2008 and 2014, she was an editor of the Routledge RIPE Book Series.

Jacqueline was the first non-science professor to be awarded the university-wide Young Research of the Year award at the University of Ottawa. She has been a Distinguished Associate Researcher at the North-South Institute, an Honorary Research Fellow at SPERI, and a visiting scholar at Oxford University and the University of Queensland.

In addition to her scholarly work, Jacqueline engages with the wider public through more popular articles, commentaries and opinion pieces, including recently published work in Foreign Affairs, Current History, Limn, and the Globe and Mail.

Further information about Jacqueline can be found here.

Research Interests

Jacqueline’s research is at the intersection of international relations, political economy and social theory.  She is interested in understanding the many ways in which things aren’t quite what they seem in international political economy. She has looked at the role of ambiguity, risk, and vulnerability in international finance and development. Her most recent work focuses on the central role of failure, exceptionalism and ignorance in countries’ efforts to respond to economic crises.

After spending a decade doing research in the field of global governance, Jacqueline published Governing Failure with Cambridge University Press in 2014.

Since then, she has returned to the field of political economy. Inspired by the long slow recovery from the 2008 global financial crisis and more recently by the rise of right-wing populism, her new work 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.

Through this research, Jacqueline 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. In the process, she hopes to challenge the telos of many contemporary accounts of neoliberalism and to open up some space for imagining a different political and economic future.  You can read some examples of Jacqueline’s research here.

Key Publications


  • J. Best (2014) Governing Failure: Provisional Expertise and the Transformation of Global Development Finance, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
  • J. Best and A. Gheciu (2014) The Return of the Public in Global Governance, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
  • J. Best and M. Paterson, eds. (2010) Cultural Political Economy. Routledge.
  • J. Best (2005) The Limits of Transparency: Ambiguity and the History of International Finance. Cornell University Press.


  • J. Best (Forthcoming, 2019) “Technocratic Exceptionalism: Monetary Policy and the Fear of Democracy.” International Political Sociology. Available for preview online.
  • J. Best (Forthcoming, 2019)“The Inflation Game: Targets, Practices and the Social Production of Monetary Credibility.” New Political Economy. Available for preview online.
  • J. Best (2018) “Economic Illusions and Democracy’s Crisis,” Current History, pp. 291-297.
  • J. Best (2017) “Security, Economy, Population: The Political Economic Logic of Liberal Exceptionalism,” Security Dialogue. Vol. 48, No. 5, 375-92.
  • J. Best (2017) “Bring Politics Back to Monetary Policy: How Technocratic Exceptionalism Fuels Populism,” Foreign Affairs.
  • J. Best (2017), The Rise of Measurement-Driven Governance: The Case of International Development. Global Governance. 23 (2), 163-181.
  • J. Best (2016) “Rethinking Central Bank Accountability in Uncertain Times.” Ethics and International Affairs. 30 (2), 215-232.
  • J. Best (2016) “When Crises are Failures: Contested Metrics in International Finance and Development.” International Political Sociology, 10(1), 39-55.
  • J. Best, and M. Paterson (2015) “Towards a Cultural Political Economy — Not a Cultural IPE,” Millennium, Vol. 43, No. 2, pp. 738-740.
  • J. Best, and W. Walters (2013) “Translating the Sociology of Translation,” International Political Sociology, Vol. 7, No. 3, pp. 345-349.
  • J. Best (2013) “Redefining Poverty as Risk and Vulnerability: Shifting Strategies of Liberal Economic Governance”, Third World Quarterly, Vol. 34, No. 2, pp. 109-129.
  • J. Best (2012) “Ambiguity and Uncertainty in International Organizations:  A History of Debating IMF Conditionality”, International Studies Quarterly, Vol. 56, No. 4, pp. 674-688.
  • J. Best (2012) “Bureaucratic Ambiguity”, Economy and Society, Vol. 41, No. 1, pp. 84-106.