The Project-Level Aid Database (PLAID) is a database of approximately 400,000 development projects financed by bilateral and multilateral donors from 1970 - 2000. It is on track to become the most comprehensive development aid database in existence. The principal investigators are Robert Hicks, Michael Tierney, and J. Timmons Roberts from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, Daniel Nielson, Darren Hawkins, Mike Findley, Sven Wilson from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah and Brad Parks, a former William and Mary student currently at the Millennium Challenge Corporation. PLAID is not currently available to the public, but will be in 2008.
The database includes project-level information about development aid including long descriptions for a host of official development assistance (ODA) and official aid projects that are not included in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee's (DAC) Creditor Reporting System(CRS) or in the current AIDA database. PLAID data will be coded for most critical OECD variables. The William and Mary team created a five-point environmental impact code and the Brigham Young University team is currently coding a similar mechanism for health impact of development projects.
PLAID currently includes all of the donors in OECD DAC CRS data, as well as additional donors, such as the Islamic Development Bank, the Caribbean Development Bank, and others. In the future PLAID will incorporate additional multilateral and bilateral aid donors not included in CRS or AIDA, create additional "impact" coding instruments, and explore determinants of aid allocation and aid effectiveness.
In addition to its value to the development community, PLAID has been and continues to be an important tool for undergraduate training in international political economy. Brad Parks began the project as an undergraduate, in cooperation with Daniel Nielson and Michael Tierney. Nearly twenty students have been involved in research and database management, and at least six undergraduate students have authored or co-authored papers that they have presented at professional conferences in political science, including the American Political Science Association, the International Studies Association, and the Midwest Political Science Association.