The first Article of the Federal Constitution of Brazil (1988) declares that the Federative Republic of Brazil is formed by the indissoluble union of States and Municipalities (municípios), as well as the Federal District. As provided for in the Constitution, the political and administrative organization of the Federative Republic of Brazil includes the Union, States, Federal District, and Municipalities as autonomous governance institutions. Brazilian subnational governments play an important role in the public sector and account for roughly 25% of GDP. The three levels of government are involved in virtually all government functions as part of a system of cooperative federalism, On the expenditure side, the (federal) Fiscal Responsibility Law sets floors and ceilings on how much subnational governments should spend on functions like education, health, or on items like personnel and debt. Within those limits, subnational governments have a high degree of autonomy. States and municipalities have a considerable degree of fiscal autonomy from the revenue side. In the case of states, own-source and shared revenues represent between 40 and 60% of total revenues, while for municipalities this figure ranges between 30% and 70% of total revenues.

Subnational governance structure

Nature of subnational governance institutions

Functional assignments

LoGICA Assessments

LoGICA Intergovernmental Profile: Brazil 2023 (Excel)

Additional resources

Country sheet: Brazil. Panorama de las relaciones fiscales entre niveles de gobierno de países de América Latina y el Caribe. 2022.

Brazil (The Forum of Federations Handbook on Local Government in Federal Systems, 2024)

Local government country profile: Brazil (UN Women)

Brazil Country Profile (World Observatory on Subnational Governance and Investment, OECD/UCLG)

Back to Local Public Sector Alliance Intergovernmental Profiles – Country Page

Last updated: April 6, 2024