The Impact of Government Policies on the Profiles and Attitudes of Academics in Two Emerging Economies: Brazil and Mexico

  • Jorge Martínez Stack
  • Marion Lloyd
  • Imanol Ordorika
Part of the The Changing Academy – The Changing Academic Profession in International Comparative Perspective book series (CHAC, volume 13)


Of the roughly a dozen Latin American universities that figure in the international rankings, half are Brazilian, while just one is Mexican. This disparity is largely the result of the differences between the two countries’ economic development models. Since the 1960s or before, Brazilian higher education policy has focused on developing a competitive research sector as part of a broader strategy for economic development. In contrast, Mexican government policies have largely focused on increasing access to higher education, with limited investment in science and technology. Such differences appear to have an impact on the perceptions of academics in both countries toward their profession, as well as in their scientific production. In this paper we examine the differences and similarities between the academic professions in Latin America’s two largest nations, using the results from the CAP survey of academics in Brazil and Mexico. In particular, we examine data in the following areas: professional trajectories and profiles; education levels; workplace conditions; teaching and research activities; levels of scientific production; and opinions and attitudes toward academic activities.


High Education High Education System Public High School Academic Profession Tertiary Enrollment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. ARWU. (2012). Academic Ranking of World Universities – 2012. Shanghai, China: Center for World-Class Universities/Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Accessed 1 Oct 2012.
  2. Boas, M. V. (2011). Brazil goes to college but chooses wrong major: The ticker. Bloomberg. Accessed 20 Mar 2013.
  3. Brainard, L., & Martínez-Díaz, L. (2009). Brazil: The “B” belongs to BRICs. In L. Brainard & L. Martínez-Díaz (Eds.), Brazil as an economic superpower: Understanding Brazil’s changing role in the global economy (pp. 1–13). Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution.Google Scholar
  4. Campos Ríos, G., & Sánchez Daza, G. (2008). El desarrollo de la ciencia y la tecnología en el ámbito regional. Tecsistecatl, 3. Accessed 20 Mar 2013.
  5. Canales Sánchez, A. (2011). La política científica y tecnológica en México: El impulso contingente en el periodo 1982–2006. Mexico City: Miguel Ángel Porrúa/SES-ISSUE.Google Scholar
  6. Cárdenas Sánchez, E. (2010). Para entender la economía: México en su bicentenario. Mexico City: Nostra Ediciones.Google Scholar
  7. Consejo Nacional de Desarrollo Científico y Tecnológico [Conacyt]. (2011). Accessed 23 Mar 2011.
  8. De Negri, J. A., Lemos, M. B., & De Negri, F. (2006). The impact of university enterprise incentive program on the performance and technological efforts of Brazilian industrial firms. Washington, DC: Inter-American Development Bank. Accessed 30 Mar 2013.
  9. DGEI/UNAM. (2012). La complejidad del logro académico: Estudio comparativo sobre la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México y la Universidad de Sao Paulo. Report prepared for the Rector of the UNAM. Mexico City: Dirección General de Evaluación Institucional/UNAM.Google Scholar
  10. Downey, A. (2012). Brazil: Mushrooming strikes put Dilma to the test. The Christian Science Monitor. Accessed 25 Sept 2012.
  11. Downey, A., & Lloyd, M. (2010). At Brazil’s universities, affirmative action faces crucial tests. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Accessed 25 Sept 2012.
  12. Explorador del Estudio Comparativo de Universidades Mexicanas [ExECUM]. (2011). Dirección General de Evaluación Institucional de la UNAM. Accessed Sept 2012.
  13. Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo [FAPESP]. (2012). Accessed Sept 2012.
  14. González-Brambila, C., Lever, J., & Veloso, F. (2007). Mexico’s innovation cha-cha. Issues in Science and Technology. Accessed 20 Mar 2013.
  15. Hill, D. (2002). Latin America: High-tech manufacturing on the rise, but outpaced by East Asia. Infobrief. Washington, DC: National Science Foundation (NSF). Accessed 6 Sept 2012.
  16. Instituto Nacional de Estudos e Pesquisas Educacionais Anísio Teixeira [INEP]. (2011, octubre). Censo da Educação Superior 2010. Accessed 18 Oct 2012.
  17. International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean [IESALC]. (2006). Informe sobre la educación superior en América Latina y el Caribe. 2000-2005. La metamorfosis de la educación superior. Caracas: IESALC. Accessed 15 Sept 2012.
  18. International Monetary Fund (IMF). (2012). World economic and financial surveys. World Economic Outlook Database. Accessed 15 Oct 2012.
  19. Knobel, M. (2012). Affirmative action in Brazil and other challenges for higher education in a rapidly growing economy. Presentation delivered at the Center for International Higher Education, Boston College.Google Scholar
  20. Lei de Diretrizes e Bases da Educação Nacional. (1996). Brasilia, Brasil. Accessed 15 Oct 2012.
  21. Lei 5,540/1968. (1968). Accessed 15 Oct 2012.
  22. Lloyd, M. (2009). Affirmative action, Brazilian-style. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Accessed 15 Oct 2012.
  23. Lloyd, M. (2013). Las políticas de fomento a la educación superior y la ciencia y tecnología en México y Brasil: un estudio de caso de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México y la Universidad de Sao Paulo. Master’s thesis in Latin American Studies, National Autonomous University of Mexico.
  24. Lloyd, M. W., Ordorika Sacristán, I., & Rodríguez-Gómez Guerra, R. (2012). Los rankings internacionales de universidades: su impacto, metodología y evolución. Cuadernos de Trabajo de la Dirección General de Evaluación Institucional, 7 (2). Mexico City: UNAM.Google Scholar
  25. Malkin, E., & Romero, S. (2012). World leaders meet in a Mexico now giving Brazil a run for its money. The New York Times. Accessed 12 Oct 2012.
  26. Micheloni, M., Logato, C., & Koehl, (2012). Brazilian federal university professors on strike. Council on hemispheric affairs. Blog post. Accessed 20 Mar 2013.
  27. Ministerio da Educação/Instituto Nacional de Estudos e Pesquisas Educacionais (MEC/INEP). (2011). Censo de educação superior 2010. Brasilia: MEC/INEP. Accessed 20 Mar 2013.
  28. Mungaray Lagarda, A., & Valenti Nigrini, G (coords.) (1997). Políticas públicas y educación superior. ANUIES. Accessed 20 Sept 2012.
  29. National Science Foundation. (2012). Science and engineering indicators 2012 (Appendix table 2-33). Accessed in Oct 2012.
  30. Ordorika, I., & Pusser, B. (2007). La máxima casa de estudios: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México as a state-building university. In P. G. Altbach & J. Balán (Eds.), World class worldwide: Transforming research universities in Asia and America (pp. 189–215). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Ordorika, I., & Rodríguez Gómez, R. (2010). El ranking Times en el mercado del prestigio académico. Perfiles Educativos, 32(129), 8–29.Google Scholar
  32. Ordorika, Sacristán, I., Rodríguez Gómez, R., Alcántara Santuario, A., Canales Sánchez, A., López Martínez, P., Lozano Espinosa, F. J., et al. (2008). Comentarios al Academic Ranking of World Universities 2008. Cuadernos de Trabajo, 1. Mexico City: UNAM-DGEI. Accessed 15 Sept 2012.
  33. Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development [OECD]. (2011/2012). Accessed Sept 2012.
  34. Oro, L. A., & Sebastián, J. (Eds.). (1993). Los sistemas de ciencia y tecnología en Iberoamérica. Buenos Aires: Fundesco/Eudeba.Google Scholar
  35. Park, W. G. (2011). Technology trade and NAFTA. In A. Tavidze (Ed.), Progress in economics research (Vol. 25, pp. 51–90). Canada: Nova Scotia Publishers Inc.Google Scholar
  36. Paulo Renato Souza Consultores, Tendências Consultoria Integrada & Núcleo de Estudos de Políticas Públicas da Universidade Estadual de Campinas. (2005). Sector study for education in Brazil: Summary. Accessed 20 Aug 2012.
  37. Pedrosa, R. H. L. (2010). Master planning in Brazilian higher education: Expanding the 3-year public college system in the state of Sao Paulo. Berkeley: Center for Studies in Higher Education, University of California, Berkeley. Accessed 20 Mar 2013.
  38. Persaud, A. (2001). The knowledge gap. Foreign Affairs. Accessed 15 Sept 2012.
  39. Pinheiro-Machado, R., & De Oliveira, P. L. (2001). The Brazilian investment in science and technology. Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research, 34, 1521–1530. Accessed October 18, 2012 in:
  40. Red de Indicadores de Ciencia y Tecnología (RICYT). (2012). Accessed Sept 2012.
  41. Rodríguez Gómez, R. (2012). Ingeniería, ¿área profesional saturada? (primera parte). Campus Milenio. Accessed 18 Sept 2012.
  42. Rohter, L. (2010). Brazil on the rise: The story of a country transformed. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  43. Schumpeter, J. A. (1942). Capitalism, socialism and democracy. New York: Harper & Brothers.Google Scholar
  44. Schwartzman, S. (1989). The University of Sao Paulo – An overview. Paper published online. Accessed 25 Sept 2012.
  45. Schwartzman, S. (1993). Políticas de educación superior en América Latina: el contexto. In H. Courard (Ed.), Políticas comparadas de educación superior en América Latina (pp. 21–44). Santiago de Chile: FLACSO.Google Scholar
  46. Schwartzman, S. (2003). Universities and the Transformation of Society in Brazil. Paper prepared for the research project on The Role of Universities in the Transformation of Societies. London: Centre for Higher Education Research and Information (CHERI)/and The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU). Accessed 5 Oct 2012.
  47. Schwartzman, S., & Klein, L. (1994). Higher education and government in Brazil. In G. Neave & F. A. van Vught (Eds.), Government and higher education relationships across three continents: The winds of change (pp. 210–224). London: Pergamon Press/International Association of Universities.Google Scholar
  48. Sklair, L. (1992). The maquilas in Mexico: A global perspective. Bulletin of Latin American Research, 11(1), 91–107. Accessed 10 Oct 2012.
  49. Slaughter, S., & Rhoades, G. (2009). Academic capitalism and the new economy: Markets, state, and higher education. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  50. Subsecretaría de Educación Superior (SES). (2011). Mexico. Accessed Sept 2012
  51. UNESCO. (2010). La educación en peligro: El impacto de la crisis financiera. In Informe de seguimiento de educación para todos en el mundo 2010 (pp. 19–41). Consulted on 18 Oct 2012.
  52. UNESCO. (2011). Una crisis encubierta: conflictos armados y educación. Accessed 25 Sept 2012.
  53. WIPO/INSEAD. (2012). Global Innovation Index. Stronger innovation linkages for global growth. Geneva: World Intellectual Property Organization/ISEAD. Accessed 5 Oct 2012.
  54. World Bank (2012). Accessed Sept 2012.
  55. World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). (2010). PCT: The international patent system yearly review. Geneva: WIPO. Accessed Sept 2012.

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jorge Martínez Stack
    • 1
  • Marion Lloyd
    • 1
  • Imanol Ordorika
    • 1
  1. 1.National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)Mexico CityMexico

Personalised recommendations