AidData's TUFF Methodology, Version 1.3

Date Published

Oct 9, 2017


Austin M. Strange, Mengfan Cheng, Brooke Russell, Siddhartha Ghose, and Bradley Parks



Strange, Austin, Mengfan Cheng, Brooke Russell, Siddhartha Ghose, and Bradley Parks. 2017. AidData's Tracking Underreported Financial Flows (TUFF) Methodology, Version 1.3. Williamsburg, VA: AidData at William & Mary.


This codebook outlines the set of TUFF procedures that have been developed, tested, refined, and implemented by AidData staff and affiliated faculty at the College of William & Mary. We initially employed these methods to achieve a specific objective: documenting the known universe of officially financed Chinese projects in Africa (Strange et al. 2013, 2017). We have since then employed these methods to track Chinese official finance to five major world regions: Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Central and Eastern Europe (Dreher et al. 2017). Additionally, other social scientists have adapted and applied the TUFF methodology to identify grants and loans from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members (Minor et al. 2014), under-reported humanitarian assistance flows from traditional and non-traditional sources (Ghose 2017), foreign direct investment from Western and non-Western sources (Bunte et al. 2017), and pre-2000 foreign aid flows from China (Morgan and Zheng 2017). However, this codebook focuses specifically on TUFF data collection and quality assurance procedures to track Chinese official finance between 2000 and 2014.

For a full list of methodologies, see Research Methods.