Heather Whiteside

Associate Chair, Graduate Studies | Associate Professor | Balsillie School of International Affairs Fellow
Heather Whiteside

Areas of Specialization

Political Economy

Public Policy


  • I am an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Waterloo and Fellow at the Balsillie School of International Affairs.
  • I am currently working on research supported by a SSHRC Insight Development Grant and UW/SSHRC Explore Seed Grant for archival research (2020-24) on joint-stock royal charter companies, and a SSHRC Insight Grant (2021-24) on public enterprise solutions for post-pandemic recoveries.
  • My book Capitalist Political Economy (2020) recently won the 2022 Rik Davidson/Studies in Political Economy Book Prize
  • In 2020, I received an Arts Award for Excellence in Research. In 2017, I received an Outstanding Performance Award.
  • I am a board member of the journal Studies in Political Economy, co-editor of Alternate Routes: a journal of critical social research, and an International Corresponding Editor for Urban Studies.
  • I am a member of the Waterloo Political Economy Group (WatPEG).


My research interests include: 

  • My research and publications centre on the political economy of privatization, financialization, and fiscal austerity.
  • I have published articles in journals such as Economic Geography, Environment and Planning A, Studies in Political Economy, Urban Studies, and Health Sociology Review.
  • My books are: Varieties of Austerity (with Stephen McBride and Bryan Evans, 2021), Capitalist Political Economy: Thinkers and Theories (2020, Routledge), Canadian Political Economy (editor, 2020, University of Toronto Press), About Canada: Public-Private Partnerships (2016, Fernwood Publishing), Purchase for Profit: public-private partnerships and Canada's public health care system (2015, University of Toronto Press), and Private Affluence, Public Austerity: economic crisis and democratic malaise in Canada (with Stephen McBride, 2011, Fernwood Publishing).

Varieties of Austerity

Austerity is not always one-size-fits-all; it can be a flexible, class-based strategy taking several forms depending on the political-economic forces and institutional characteristics present.

This important book identifies continuity and variety in crisis-driven austerity restructuring across Canada, Denmark, Ireland and Spain. In their analysis, the authors focus on several components of austerity, including fiscal and monetary policy, budget narratives, public sector reform, labor market flexibilization, and resistance. In so doing, they uncover how austerity can be categorized into different dynamic types, and expose the economic, social, and political implications of the varieties of austerity.

Capitalist Political Economy: Thinkers and Theorie

A key text, Capitalist Political Economy: Thinkers and Theories analyses the field-forming theoretical contributions to political economy that have defined, debated, critiqued, and defended capitalism for more than three centuries.

Political economy recognizes and celebrates the many and varied interconnections between politics and economics in society, together with the economic implications of public policy and the political impact of market and property relations. As such, political economy is both an approach to understanding capitalism and a reflection of the forms and features of capitalism at particular moments. Grounded in primary and secondary literature including theorists’ original writings and leading literary biographies, this text explores principal themes in the development of capitalism and political economic thought. It relates these to markets, property, profits, labour, investment, innovation, the state, growth and crises, gender, the ecological limits of capital accumulation, and rival economic practices. The book contextualizes the legacy of foundational political economists by exploring their life and times and putting them in conversation with other highly influential theorists. Equally, it also considers more contemporary views. 

This book serves as an indispensable source for academic communities who are interested in the long arc of capitalist development, theories, and theorists.

Canadian Political Economy

In Canadian Political Economy, experts from a number of disciplinary backgrounds come together to explore Canada’s empirical political economy and the field's contributions to theory and debate. Considering both historical and contemporary approaches to CPE, the contributors pay particular attention to key actors and institutions, as well as developments in Canadian political-economic policies and practices, explored through themes of changes, crises, and conflicts in CPE. Offering up-to-date interpretations, analyses, and descriptions, Canadian Political Economy is accessibly written and suitable for students and scholars. Through 17 chapters, the book’s topics include theory, history, inequality, work, free trade and fair trade, co-operatives, banking and finance, the environment, indigeneity, and the gendered politics of political economy. Linking longstanding debates with current developments, this volume represents both a state-of-the-discipline and a state-of-the-art contribution to scholarship.

Purchase for Profit: Public-Private Partnerships and Canada's Public Health-Care System

Canadian provinces have increasingly begun turning to the private sector to finance and construct large-scale infrastructure projects. From a critical public policy perspective, the danger of these public-private partnerships (P3s) is that they are more than just new ways to deliver public infrastructure. They are neoliberal projects that privatize and corporatize the basis of public services.

Analyzing four Canadian P3 hospital projects, Heather Whiteside argues that P3s not only fail to fulfill the promises made by their proponents but also compromise public control of health policy, outcomes, and future plans. Yet, despite these disadvantages, the use of P3s is being normalized and expanded in BC and Ontario through capital planning frameworks and special government agencies that support and encourage P3 projects. Based on extensive interviews with academic experts, union representatives, provincial government decision-makers, and private sector partners, Purchase for Profit will be important for those studying public policy in any of the areas in which P3s are now being adopted.

Current teaching

  • PS 690 Theories of Political Economy
  • PSCI 428/631 The State and Economic Life
  • PSCI 300 Foundations of Political Economy
  • PSCI 231 Government and Business

Teaching philosophy: I teach political science courses from a political economy perspective, my aim being to inspire students’ curiosity into the dynamic relationship that exists between the political and the economic (variously conceived).  Students in my classes learn not only about political economy theory and practice, they engage in critical thinking about how these forces shape society and their everyday lives.

Current supervision

2016: University of Waterloo Accredited Doctoral Dissertation Supervisor (ADDS) status awarded.

PhD Dissertation Supervision

2020-               Committee member, Melsen Babe (US Federal Reserve)

2017-2021        Committee member, Justine Salam (Alberta oil royalties)

Master's Thesis Supervision

2018-9             Supervisor, David Biledeau (corporate social responsibility)

2019-21           Second Reader, Viktoriya Vinik (sharing economy)

Master’s Research Project Supervision

2019-20           Second Reader, Sukhneet Kahlon (fossil fuel transition)

2019-20           Supervisor, Alexandra Giorgis-Audrain (tax evasion)

2017-8             Co-Supervisor, Kristen Myers (populism)

2017-8             Second Reader, Aidan Barrett (corporate financialization)

Selected publications 


Whiteside, H., McBride, S., and Evans, B. 2021. Varieties of Austerity. Bristol: Bristol University Press.

Whiteside, H., ed. 2020. Canadian Political Economy. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Whiteside, H. 2020. Capitalist Political Economy: Thinkers and Theories. London: Routledge. 

Whiteside, H. 2016. About Canada: Public-Private Partnerships. Fernwood Publishing: Winnipeg and Halifax.

Whiteside, H. 2015. Purchase for Profit: public-private partnerships and Canada’s public health care system. University of Toronto Press: Toronto.  

McBride, S. and Whiteside, H. 2011. Private Affluence, Public Austerity: economic crisis and democratic malaise in Canada. Fernwood Publishing: Winnipeg and Halifax.


Whiteside, H., Alami, I., Dixon, A., and Peck, J. 2022. “Making Space for the New State Capitalism Introduction Part I: Working with a troublesome category.” Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space. December 12, 2022, online first

Whiteside, H. 2022. "Company colonies and historical layering: understanding the Virginia, Somers Isles, and Hudson’s Bay Companies." Review of International Political Economy. September 28, 2022, online first.
Palcic, D., Reeves, E., and Whiteside, H. 2022. “Reluctant State Capitalism: antipathy, accommodation, and hybridity in Irish telecommunications.” Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space. January 24, 2022, online first.
Whiteside, H. 2021. “State and Collective Ownership: Thwarting and Enabling Financialization? Urban Geography Plenary Lecture Discussant Paper.” Urban Geography. October 4, 2021, online first.
Whiteside, H. 2021. “Reconciling with Capitalism: selling Crown land to settle with First Nations.” Canadian Public Administration. 64:2, pp. 257-278.
Whiteside, H. 2021. "Beyond Death and Taxes: Fiscal Studies and the Fiscal State." Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space. February 9, 2021, online first.
Whiteside, H. 2020. “Privatizing Canadian Government Real Estate: Railroads, Reconciliation, and Rip-Offs.” Land Use Policy. June 7, 2020, online first.

Whiteside, H. 2019. “Historicizing Financialization and the Postwar ‘infrastructure ideal’.” Environment & Planning A. December 5, 2019, online first.

Whiteside, H. 2019. “Is, ought and being careful what you wish for.” Dialogues in Human Geography. September 9, 2019, online first.

Whiteside, H. 2019 “Public-Private Partnerships: Market Development Through Management Reform.” Review of International Political Economy. July 3, 2019, online first

Whiteside, H. 2019. “Critical Commentary: Advanced Perspectives on Financialized Urban Infrastructures.” Urban Studies. February 14, 2019, online first.

Whiteside, H. 2018. “Austerity as Epiphenomenon? Public Assets Before & Beyond 2008.” Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society. September 19, 2018, online first.

Whiteside, H. 2018. “Foreign in a Domestic Sense: Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis and Paradoxes in Critical Urban Studies.” Urban Studies. May 29, 2018, online first.

Whiteside, H. 2018. “Public Works: Better, Cheaper, Faster Infrastructure.” Studies in Political Economy. 99:1, pp. 2-19.

Whiteside, H. 2017. “The state’s estate: devaluing and revaluing ‘surplus’ public land in Canada.” Environment and Planning A. August 2, 2017, online first.

Whiteside, H. 2017. “The Canada Infrastructure Bank: Private Finance As Poor ‘Alternative’. Studies in Political Economy.  98:2, pp. 223-237.

Peck, J., and Whiteside, H. 2016. “Financializing Detroit.” Economic Geography. 92:3, pp. 235-268.  

Whiteside, H. 2013. “Stabilizing privatization: crisis, enabling fields, and public-private partnerships in Canada.” Alternate Routes: a journal of critical social research. 24, pp. 85-108.

Whiteside, H. 2012. “Crises of Capital and the Logic of Dispossession and Repossession.” Studies in Political Economy. 89, pp. 59-78.

Whiteside, H. 2011. “Unhealthy Policy: the political economy of Canadian public-private partnership hospitals.” Health Sociology Review.  20:3, pp. 258-268.

McBride, S. and Whiteside, H. 2011. “Austerity for Whom?” Socialist Studies. 7:1/2, Spring/Fall, pp. 42-64.

Whiteside, H. 2009. “Canada’s Health Care ‘Crisis’: Accumulation by Dispossession and the Neoliberal Fix.” Studies in Political Economy. 84, December, pp. 79-100.


Christophers, B., and Whiteside, H. 2021. “Fictions of surplus: commodifying public land in Canada and the United Kingdom.” In Lake, B., and Ghertner, A., eds. Land Fictions. Cornell University Press: Ithaca.

Whiteside, H. 2018. “BC’s Recurrent Austerity: victory unfettered from success.” In Fanelli, C., and Evans, B., eds. The Public Sector in an Age of Austerity: Perspectives from Canada’s Provinces and Territories. McGill-Queen’s University Press: Montreal and Kingston.

Whiteside, H. 2018. “Healthy Profit: private finance and public hospitals.” Brownlee, J., Hurl, C., Walby, K., eds. Minding the Public’ s Business: Critical Perspectives on Corporatization in Canada. Between the Lines: Toronto.

Peck, J., and Whiteside, H. 2017. “Neoliberalizing Detroit.” In Pavlovkskaya, M., and Schram, S. eds. Rethinking Neoliberalism: Resisting the Disciplinary Regime. NY: Routledge. 

Whiteside, H. 2017. “Profiting Off Austerity: private finance for public infrastructure.” In McBride, S., and Evans, B., eds. Austerity and the State. University of Toronto Press: Toronto.

Whiteside, H. 2016. “Neoliberalism as austerity: the theory, practice, and purpose of fiscal restraint since the 1970s.” In Springer, S., Birch, K., MacLeavy, J., eds. Handbook of Neoliberalism. Routledge: London. 

Peck, J., and Whiteside, H. 2016. “Financializing the Entrepreneurial City.” In Schönig, B. and Schipper, S., eds. Urban Austerity: Impacts of the Global Financial Crisis on Cities in Europe. Theater de Zeit: Berlin.

Whiteside, H. 2016. “How Ottawa Shifts Spending: private financing and the municipal infrastructure gap.” In Doern, G. B., and Stoney, C., eds. How Ottawa Spends 2015-2016. McGill-Queen’s University Press: Montreal and Kingston. 

Whiteside, H. 2015. “Austerity budgets and public sector retrenchment: crisis era policy making in Canada, the UK, and Australia.” In Boychuk, G., Mahon, R., and McBride, S., eds. After ’08: Social Policy and the Global Financial Crisis. University of British Columbia Press: Vancouver.

Whiteside, H. 2015. “Colin Leys and Colin Hay: market-driven politics and the depoliticisation of health care.” In Collyer, F., ed. Handbook of Social Theory in Health, Illness and Medicine. Palgrave Macmillan: London.

Whiteside, H. 2014. “P3s and the Value for Money Illusion: orchestrating future austerity?” In Baines, D., and McBride, S., eds. Orchestrating Austerity: Impacts and Resistance. Fernwood Publishing: Winnipeg and Halifax.

Whiteside, H. 2014. “Tarnished yet tenacious: examining the track record and future of public-private partnership hospitals in Canada.” In Atasoy, Y., ed. Global Economic Crisis and the Politics of Diversity. Palgrave Macmillan: London.

McBride, S. and Whiteside, H. 2013. “The Canadian State and the Crisis: Theoretical and Historical Context.” In Fowler, T., ed. From Crisis To Austerity: Neoliberalism, Organized Labour, and the Canadian State. Red Quill Books: Ottawa.

Edited Journals

Fanelli, C., and Whiteside, H., eds. 2021. Alternate Routes: A Journal of Critical Social Research. 32:1. 
Alami, I., Dixon, A., Whiteside, H., Peck, J., eds. forthcoming (in progress). "Making Space for the New State Capitalism." Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space.
Book Reviews
Whiteside, H. 2021. “Book Review: Economics and the Left: Interviews with Progressive Economists by Robert Pollin and C.J. Polychroniou, eds.” Antipode. September 29.

Whiteside, H. 2021. “Book Review: Debt and Austerity: Implications of the Financial Crisis by Jodi Gardiner, Mia Gray, and Katharina Möser, eds.” Economic Geography.

Whiteside, H. forthcoming (in-press). "Book Review: Austerity by Suzanne J. Konzelmann & Why Austerity Persists by Jon Shefner and Cory Blad." Review of Radical Political Economics.

Fanelli, C., and Whiteside, H. 2020. “Profiting from the Pandemic.” The Hill Times. June 1.

Whiteside, H. 2017. “New Canada infrastructure bank plays poker with public assets.” Toronto Star. March 17.

Whiteside, H. 2016. “The Canada Infrastructure Bank: Theft by Deception.” The Hill Times. December 7. 

Whiteside, H. 2016. “The Canada Infrastructure Bank: Theft by Deception.” The Bullet. November 27.

Whiteside, H. 2016. “No admittance except on business: how P3s are produced and the secret of their profit making.” The Bullet. February 19. 

Current grants

2021-24: "Back to the Future? Public Enterprise and Canadian Economic Development Prospects." Insight Grant. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Co-Investigator.

2020-23: "Holding the Purse Strings: Joint-Stock Royal Charter Companies and the Origins of Capitalism in North America.” Insight Development Grant. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.Principal Investigator.   

2016-2020: “Varieties of Austerity.” Insight Grant. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Co-Investigator.

2016-2018: “Austerity and Its Alternatives.” Partnership Development Grant. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Co-Investigator.

Current editorial and review service

Co-Editor, Alternate Routes: A Journal of Critical Social Research

Editorial Board, Studies in Political Economy

International Corresponding Editor, Urban Studies


Email: h2whiteside@uwaterloo.ca
Office: Hagey Hall 309
Phone: x42312