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date: 22 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the evolution of the structuralist school of economic thought in the Brazilian context. The intellectual roots of structuralism are analyzed, as is the influence this set of ideas has had on economic policy formulation in Brazil. Prominent structuralists such as Celso Furtado and Raul Prebisch influenced the governments of Getúlio Vargas and Juscelino Kubitschek, while Furtado himself played a key role in establishing the national development bank (BNDES) and the Northeast development agency, SUDENE. Furtado “historicized” CEPAL structuralism and showed how losses in the coffee sector were spread across the whole economy in the 1930s. He furthermore developed a model of internal colonialism and arguably was the first dependency theorist. The crisis of structuralism in the mid-1960s ultimately resulted in neostructuralism in 1990, a reformed version of the doctrine that emphasized the export market, technological change, and continual “learning by doing.”

Keywords: Brazil, economics, structuralism, economic policy, dependency theory, development banking

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