The Center for Political Economy was originally founded in 1980 to publish an academic journal on economic development, macroeconomics, and the critique of neoclassical economics: the Brazilian Journal of Political Economy (Revista de Economia Política). The term "political economy" in its title refers to the original name of the economic theory - the one adopted by the great mercantilist and classical economists. These economists as well as Marx, Keynes and Schumpeter used the historical or empirical method to develop their science, instead of the hypothetic-deductive method used by neoclassical economists.
The center and the journal are focused in middle-income countries and in the theories more relevant to this phase of economic growth. In the 1980s and 1990s, the journal published the main articles on the theory of inertial inflation, which was important to explain the high inflation in Latin America in these two decades. Since the 2000s, the focus has been in new developmentalism - a new theoretical framework including a macroeconomics focused in the exchange rate and the current account.
Since 2013 the Center for Political Economy and New Developmentalism has broadened its objectives and has been conducting seminars and workshops on new- developmentalism.