Max is studying the long-term evolution of living standards around the world. His work is published in two ways: through open-access web publications and through academic journals.
In 2011 he started his web publication OurWorldInData.org. The site tells the social, economic, and environmental history of our world up to the present day. The publication presents empirical research and interactive data visualisations based on a wide rage of academic sources and disciplines. It is a long-term project that Max is continuously working on. Another web publication focuses on economic inequality; in the Chartbook of Economic Inequality Tony Atkinson, Salvatore Morelli and Max show how inequality has changed over the last 100 years in 30 countries.
His research is concerned with inclusive and sustainable growth. Together with Brian Nolan and Stefan Thewissen he has created a data set of average incomes in different percentiles across the income distribution. With this data it is now possible to study both the distribution of incomes and the growth of incomes at the same time.
With Olivier Sterck and Stefan Thewissen he has researched the link between incomes and health outcomes and made suggestions for how to allocate development assistance for health.
Together with Felix Pretis Max has investigated whether the world is on track to achieve economic prosperity in an environmentally sustainable fashion. They have assessed the global socio-economic scenarios underlying the IPCC reports on climate change by comparing them with the recent observational record.
Max has a BSc in geoscience, a BA and an MA in philosophy, an MSc in economics, and a doctorate from the University of Innsbruck, Austria.
He has done consultancy work for institutions such as the World Bank and the Global Fund and his work has been covered in media outlets including The New York Times, The Guardian, The Financial Times, Business Insider, TIME Magazine, The Washington Post, Forbes, Slate, Vox, La Presse (French), Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Spiegel and Süddeutsche Zeitung (German).