‘TAMA’ economics under siege in Brazil: the threats of curriculum governance reform

Danielle Guizzo*, Andrew Mearman, Sebastian Berger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This article considers the curriculum framework governing economics teaching in Brazilian higher education. We assess economics teaching according to three criteria: its pluralism or monism regarding economic theory and method; its treatment of economics’ wider socio-political dimensions; and its educational philosophical approach and goals. Against these criteria we conclude that Brazilian economics has been pluralist and open, particularly in comparison to other international governance frameworks. However, we argue that Brazil’s prevailing TAMA–There Are Many Alternatives–framework is threatened by strong disciplinary, institutional and wider political pressures with both domestic and global roots. These forces may force Brazilian economics teaching to be less open, becoming more like the existing hegemonic approaches, such as those operating in Anglo/US systems. These changes partly reflect the neo-liberalization of higher education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-281
Number of pages24
JournalReview of International Political Economy
Issue number1
Early online date26 Sep 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
These dynamics of how academic research in economics is sponsored and regulated will likely affect how postgraduate programs in economics are taught. One mechanism is through funding. Postgraduate programs are ranked between grade 3 (recently implemented, or locally recognized program) and 7 (high-quality, internationally recognized program) by the CAPES Foundation and the Ministry of Education. These rankings then determine the amount of funding for research and teaching activities each program receives annually. A crucial factor in these rankings is research quality, as measured by the Qualis. Postgraduate programs whose staff achieve what are deemed outstanding publications (A1/A2) will receive additional research funding. Thus effectively, the Qualis is also used to assess the overall quality of postgraduate programs.

Funding Information:
The CAPES Research Foundation (Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel) is a body within Brazil’s Ministry of Education whose central purpose is to coordinate efforts to improve the quality of Brazil’s faculty and staff in higher education through grant programs. CAPES is particularly concerned with the training of Doctoral candidates, Pre-doctoral short-term researchers, and Post-doctoral Scholars (Institute of International Education, ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Brazilian higher education
  • economics teaching
  • educational philosophy
  • neo-liberalism
  • pluralism


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