Our work seeks to ensure citizens are represented and governed fairly in a world of changing state authorities.  Through international partnerships and networks, we will seek to influence donors, research organisations, governments and civil society to promote social justice and good governance through the equitable co-production of inclusive and interdisciplinary evidence. Our activities centre on four core themes:


Understanding how taxation affects the quality of governance has implications for social justice, inequality, sustainability and security at both global, national and sub-national levels. The International Centre for Tax and Development is globally the leading organisation in its field.

Politics of public policy

Our research focuses on how state-society interactions influence state structures, as well as the shaping and implementation of public policy. Concepts that our work engages with and pushes further include: political settlements, political commitment, capacity of state and non-state actors in policy formulation and implementation, and the role of states in enabling collective action and accountability.

Non-State actors, criminality, hybrid governance

Increasingly, state actors are only one part of a diversity of actors exercising public authority, particularly in locations where state institutions are weak and where there is insufficient control over territory. Our research will discover how non-state actors, competitors to the state for governance, actually gain legitimacy and are able to exercise and retain authority.

Decentralization and local governance

Despite waves of decentralization in many parts of the world we do not yet understand the conditions under which local and decentralized governance can deliver on its promises of effective and locally accountable public authority. While the theme is an old one, we will expand our work in this area particularly in relation to conflict and insecurity as well as local politics.

Key contacts



Image of Alexandra Obeng-Gyabaa
Alexandra Obeng-Gyabaa

Postgraduate Researcher

Image of Anuradha Joshi
Anuradha Joshi

Research Fellow

Image of Camilla Reuterswärd
Camilla Reuterswärd

Research Fellow

Image of Colin Anderson
Colin Anderson

Research Officer

Image of Deepta Chopra
Deepta Chopra

Research Fellow

Image of Edmilson Ângelo
Edmilson Ângelo

Postgraduate Researcher

Image of Emilie Wilson
Emilie Wilson

Communications Officer

Image of Fabrizio Santoro
Fabrizio Santoro

Postdoctoral Fellow


Recent work

Working Paper

The VAT in Practice: Equity, Enforcement and Complexity

ICTD Working Paper 117

The value added tax (VAT) is supposed to be a tax on consumption that achieves greater economic efficiency than alternative indirect taxes. It is also meant to facilitate enforcement through the ‘self-enforcing mechanism’ – based on opposed incentives for buyers and sellers, and because...

23 January 2021


Lessons for conducting phone-based surveys during Covid-19 and beyond

The lived experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic are starkly divided along gender lines, and the pandemic has already exacerbated gender inequalities within the home and in the labour market across countries. To understand the gendered impacts and experiences of the pandemic in urban Pakistan and...

Image of Ali Cheema
Ali Cheema & 2 others

19 January 2021