Heidi Peltier

Senior Research Associate in International and Public Affairs
Research Interests Energy & Environment, Energy Security, Labor, Political Economy
Areas of Interest Economics of war; Military Contracting; Employment Effects of Military and Domestic Spending; Economics of Energy Policy; Employment Effects of Transition to Low-Carbon Economy


Heidi Peltier has been a contributing author to the Costs of War Project since its inception in 2010 and joined the staff in 2019. Peltier is an economist who has written on military-related topics including the employment impacts of military and other public spending; military contracting, or what she calls the “Camo Economy;” and other areas at the intersection of militarism and public finance. She has also written widely on the employment impacts of a transition to a low-carbon economy, and is the author of the book, "Creating a Clean-Energy Economy: How Investments in Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Can Create Jobs in a Sustainable Economy." Heidi has been interviewed in print, radio and podcasts regarding her research on the employment impacts of military spending as well as on her research on the clean energy economy. She has presented her work at the U.N. Climate Change Conference, to various public officials at the state and federal levels in the U.S., and at conferences domestically and abroad. Heidi has served as a consultant with the U.S. Department of Energy, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the International Labor Organization and various other organizations.


My research has focused in two areas which sometimes intersect: the economics of war and the transition to a low-carbon economy. In some papers, I look explicitly at the employment effects of a shift in public spending that reduces the military budget and increases funding for decarbonization.

Research that has focused on military spending includes an analysis of military contracting, or what I call the “Camo Economy,” since contracting camouflages the political, budgetary, and human costs of war. I have also looked at the budgetary consequences of paying for the post-9/11 wars through debt, and the future burdens imposed on taxpayers.

In the realm of clean energy, my research focuses on quantifying the employment and other economic effects of energy policy, including increased consumption of renewable energy, a shift toward energy efficiency, and the impacts of energy and environmental conservation.


“We Get What We Pay For: The Cycle of Military Spending, Industry Power, and Economic Dependence,” Costs of War.  Providence: Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Brown University. June 8, 2023.

“Wartime Contract Spending in Afghanistan Since 2001,” Costs of War.  Providence: Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Brown University. August 9, 2022.

“Eight Things You Should Know About Defense Spending and Inflation,” Costs of War.  Providence: Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Brown University.  May 3, 2022.

“The environmental costs of US militarization toward China,” Greening U.S.-China Relations: A Symposium.  Washington, D.C.: Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.  September 18, 2020.

“The Growth of the ‘Camo Economy’ and the Commercialization of the Post-9/11 Wars,” Costs of War.  Providence and Boston: Watson Institute at Brown University and Pardee Center at Boston University.  June 30, 2020.

“Employment Impacts of Conservation Spending.”  Research Brief.  Boston: Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, Boston University.  May 2020.

“The Cost of Debt-Financed War: Public Debt and Rising Interest for Post-9/11 War Spending,” Costs of War. Providence, Rhode Island: Watson Institute, Brown University.  January 2020.

 “War Spending and Lost Opportunities,” Costs of War. Providence, Rhode Island: Watson Institute, Brown University. March 2019.

Clean Energy Investments for New York State: An Economic Framework for Promoting Climate Stabilization and Expanding Good Job Opportunities.  Amherst, MA: Political Economy Research Institute.  November 2017.  With Robert Pollin and Jeannette Wicks-Lim.

“Green Versus Brown: Comparing the Employment Impacts of Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, and Fossil Fuels using an Input-Output Model,” Economic Modelling, Vol 61, pp. 439-447.  February 2017.

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