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Max Gallien

Research Fellow

Max Gallien is a political scientist specialising in the politics of informal and illegal economies, the political economy of development and the modern politics of the Middle East and North Africa.

Max is an IDS Research Fellow in the governance cluster and with the International Centre for Taxation and Development (ICTD) where he leads the research programme on informality and taxation with Vanessa van den Boogaard, alongside the ICTD’s capacity building programme.

He recently completed his PhD, titled “Smugglers and States: Illegal Trade in the Political Settlements of North Africa” at the London School of Economics, where he taught on the political economy of international development. He also taught on the political economy of the Middle East at King’s College, and has been advising government departments and embassies in both the UK and North Africa.

Languages: German (native), English (fluent), French (advanced), and Arabic (advanced)



International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD)

The International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD) provides research evidence that supports developing countries in raising domestic revenues equitably and sustainably, in a manner that is conducive to pro-poor economic growth and good governance.



Tax on mobile money transfers hits the poor hardest in Ghana

Ghana’s introduction of a 1.5% tax on mobile money transactions in May 2022 has been watched closely by policymakers across Africa. The proponents of the electronic transaction levy (e-levy) argue that taxes on mobile money — commonly referred to in Ghana as MoMo — present an opportunity...

Mike Rogan & 3 others

20 September 2022


Working Paper

Mobile Money Taxation and Informal Workers: Evidence from Ghana’s E-Levy

ICTD Working Paper 146

The use of digital financial services, including money transfers and mobile money, have expanded widely in lower-income countries in the past decade; 47 per cent of the population of sub-Saharan Africa (548 million) had a registered mobile money account in 2020, with 29 per cent of those...

Max Gallien
Max Gallien & 3 others

8 September 2022

Journal Article

Beyond Greed: Why Armed Groups Tax

Based on a review of the diverse practices of how armed groups tax, we highlight that a full account of why armed groups tax needs to go beyond revenue motivations, to also engage with explanations related to ideology, legitimacy, institution building, legibility and control of populations,...

Max Gallien
Max Gallien & 4 others

14 March 2022

Max Gallien’s recent work

Past Event

Book Launch: The Routledge Handbook of Smuggling

We are thrilled to officially launch the 'Routledge Handbook of Smuggling' with an introduction by its editors, some of its authors, and a discussion of key issues in the contemporary study of smuggling. Watch the video now https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6rYAlNAGnk Listen to the audio...

3 May 2022