Transparent Development Footprints

Program Overview

Tracking underreported financial flows

As officially-reported Western aid becomes a smaller fraction of the total financing for sustainable development, AidData is pioneering new methods to track the large and growing number of development investments made by non-Western governments like China and Qatar, non-state actors like companies and private philanthropies, and low- and middle-income countries themselves.

AidData uses unique data and methods to answer a range of questions about these less understood global development actors:

  • What are their investment priorities?
  • How closely do their investments align with national development priorities and global goals?
  • In which countries and sectors are they most and least influential?
  • What are the intended and unintended effects of their investments?

Featured Publications

Policy Report

Corridors of Power: How Beijing uses economic, social, and network ties to exert influence along the Silk Road

Samantha Custer, Justin Schon, Ana Horigoshi, Divya Mathew, Bryan Burgess, Vera Choo, Amber Hutchinson, Austin Baehr, and Kelsey Marshall


Policy Report

Silk Road Diplomacy: Deconstructing Beijing's toolkit to influence South and Central Asia

Samantha Custer, Tanya Sethi, Jonathan A. Solis, Joyce Jiahui Lin, Siddhartha Ghose, Anubhav Gupta, Rodney Knight, Austin Baehr


Policy Report

Influencing the Narrative: How the Chinese government mobilizes students and media to burnish its image

Samantha Custer, Mihir Prakash, Jonathan A. Solis, Rodney Knight, Joyce Jiahui Lin


Policy Report

Ties That Bind: Quantifying China's public diplomacy and its "good neighbor" effect

Samantha Custer, Brooke Russell, Matthew DiLorenzo, Mengfan Cheng, Siddhartha Ghose, Jacob Sims, Jennifer Turner, Harsh Desai



Tracking Chinese Development Finance: An Application of AidData’s TUFF 2.0 Methodology

Samantha Custer, Axel Dreher, Thai-Binh Elston, Andreas Fuchs, Siddharta Ghose, Joyce Jiahui Lin, Ammar A. Malik, Bradley C. Parks, Brooke Russell, Kyra Solomon, Austin Strange, Michael J. Tierney, Katherine Walsh, Lincoln Zaleski, and Sheng Zhang


Journal Article

The effects of trade, aid, and investment on China's image in Latin America

Journal of Comparative Economics

Vera Z. Eichenauer, Andreas Fuchs, Lutz Brückner


Program Team

For technical or research inquires, contact:

Policy Analysis

Samantha Custer

Director of Policy Analysis

Policy Analysis

Rodney Knight

Deputy Director of Research

Policy Analysis

Amber Hutchinson

Junior Data Analyst

Policy Analysis

Ana Horigoshi

Senior Research Analyst

Policy Analysis

Austin Baehr

Program Manager

Policy Analysis

Brook Lautenslager

Software Lead

Policy Analysis

Divya Mathew

Policy Specialist

Policy Analysis

Emily Dumont

Program Manager

Policy Analysis

Jonathan A. Solis

Senior Research Analyst

Policy Analysis

Justin Schon

Senior Research Analyst

Gates Foundation
MacArthur Foundation
Ministry of Education of Singapore
William & Mary

Alex Wooley

Director of Partnerships and Communications