Our Research on China
A decade of innovation, rigor and collaboration
AidData's research on China began a decade ago, with a team of William & Mary faculty, staff, and students asking a common question: How do you figure out what China is funding when, where, and to what effect?
Because China's state-backed lenders and donors rarely disclose the terms and conditions or implementation arrangements that govern the country's aid and debt, we face a knowledge gap in understanding the socio-economic, environmental, governance, and geopolitical implications of these financial flows.
Today, as China has established itself as a financier of first resort in emerging markets, this question is relevant now more than ever. To bolster the country's soft power, leaders in Beijing have mobilized government agencies, media outlets, and educational institutions at home and abroad as a megaphone to tell China’s story to the world.
As China's engagement with the world has changed, so too has AidData's research. We have broken new ground to quantifiably measure a much broader range of China's activities than had been previously attempted before. We have systematically quantified key dimensions of Chinese public diplomacy and influence with foreign leaders and publics. We've revealed the specific terms of debt contracts in foreign countries with China's state-owned banks. And we are currently tracking China's full development finance portfolio.
Earlier versions of our Global Chinese Development Finance Dataset have led to more than 250 publications that have been cited over 4,000 times in academic literature and 450 times by leading journalists.