Alm's most recent research areas include tax compliance and tax evasion, the marriage tax, tax and expenditure limitations, tax amnesties, taxpayer responses to tax reforms, enterprise zones, the determinants of state economic growth, and corruption. He has worked extensively on fiscal and decentralization reforms in numerous countries, including Bangladesh, Jamaica, Grenada, Indonesia, Turkey, Hungary, China, Egypt, the Philippines, Russia, Uganda, Nigeria, India, Colombia, Nepal, Ukraine, Pakistan, South Africa, and Tunisia. Alm's international projects have been funded by the World Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the United Nations Development Program, and the International Monetary Fund.
Alm was the long-time Editor of the Public Finance Review, and he has served on the editorial boards of Review of Economics of the Household, Economic Inquiry, Public Finance Review, National Tax Journal, Economics - ejournal, Economic Analysis and Policy, Public Budgeting & Finance, International Journal of Financial Studies, Journal of Tax Administration, Paradigms, and Actual Problems of Economics and Law. His work has been published in The American Economic Review, The Journal of Economic Perspectives, The Review of Economics and Statistics, Economica, Economic Inquiry, Southern Economic Journal, Kyklos, Journal of Public Economics, Journal of Urban Economics, Journal of Development Economics, Journal of Human Resources, National Tax Journal, Public Finance Review, International Tax and Public Finance, Public Choice, Publius, Public Finance/Finances Publiques, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Regional Science and Urban Economics, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Journal of Economic Psychology, The Manchester School, Oxford Development Studies, Economics of Education Review, Economic Analysis and Policy, and Journal of Development Studies, among others. His work has also been noted in articles in the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Forbes, Business Week, and Bloomberg. Prior to coming to Tulane University as chair of the department of economics, Alm served as chair of the economics department in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University and also as dean of the school. He has also been the President of the Southern Economics Association, and he has just been elected the Second Vice President of the National Tax Association.