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Maximilien Zahnd

Maximilien Zahnd

Ph.D. Candidate, Scott Polar Research Institute


My principal research interest lies in the socio-cultural dimension of tribal taxation. In 2015-2016 I was a visiting researcher at UC Berkeley School of Law, where I carried out independent research on tribal taxation, American Indian law, and state and local taxation. I also conducted field research in Alaska.


  • M.Phil. in Polar Studies, Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge (2014)
  • M.Sc. Law, Anthropology and Society, London School of Economics and Political Science (2012)
  • LL.M. (Taxation), Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law (2008)
  • Master 2 Recherche (Tax law), Université Paris 2 Panthéon-Assas (2007)
  • Master 2 Professionnel (Tax law), Université Paris Descartes (2006)
  • Master 1 (Business law), Université de Cergy-Pontoise (2005)


Broadly speaking, the doctoral research I am currently undertaking at the Scott Polar Research Institute focuses on (1) the conditions under which a tribe uses its power to tax, (2) the reasons why it does so, and (3) the multi-dimensional effects such a power generates. It seeks to better understand the ways in which tribal taxation can be used as a non-fiscal means to an end, specifically to promote sovereignty and/or cultural identity. Throughout, my endeavour is to demonstrate that tax law enhances tribal empowerment.

My doctoral research uses a socio-legal and historical approach, and takes the tax history of the Native Village of Venetie Tribal Government as its main case study.

Main research interests:

  • American Indian law (lower 48 states and Alaska)
  • Tribal law (lower 48 states and Alaska)
  • Indigenous sovereignty
  • Legal anthropology
  • State and local taxation
  • Constitutional law


Selected publications

  • 2014. Gutmann, D. and Zahnd, M., Article 21: Other Income in Modèle de Convention fiscale OCDE concernant le revenu et la fortune: Commentaire (Robert Danon et al., eds., Helbing Lichtenhahn/Editions Francis Lefebvre) 642-663 [French]


  • Teaching Assistant, Business Taxation, Université Paris 2 Panthéon-Assas (2010-2011)