Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Persistent Institutional Development Survey (PIDS)?
PIDS is a research project at the College of William and Mary’s Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations that aims to identify when and why the institutional development benefits of international aid projects are sustained.  The principal investigators responsible for this project are Mark Buntaine, Bradley Parks, and Benjamin Buch.

What is the purpose of your research project? 
Scholars, policymakers, and development practitioners lack data on when the capacity building and institutional development objectives of aid projects persist over time. In order to address this challenge, we have collected a large number of project evaluations produced by the World Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group from 2003-2009 and extracted observable indicators of institutional development at project completion. Our survey is sent to experts who we believe can comment on the current state of indicators that were measured at project completion. This process will yield the first-of-its-kind data on whether institutional developments have been sustained beyond project completion. The goal of this research is to provide a better understanding of how donor agencies and international organizations can provide assistance with durable benefits.

Why was I selected to participate in this survey?
You have been identified as an expert who is likely to have particular knowledge about the current state of a previously evaluated indicator. We have collected observable indicators of outcomes that were achieved by aid projects from publicly available evaluations. Our primary research goal is to understand which of these beneficial outcomes have persisted and which have not after the end of donor involvement. To evaluate the persistence of aid outcomes, we have sought out contact information from development experts who can comment on the current state of the previously achieved outcomes. 

What kinds of questions will I be asked if I participate in the survey?
In the survey, you will be asked to comment on the current state of outcomes that were previously achieved as part of aid projects. Specifically, you will be asked describe the current state of a measurable outcomes and to indicate whether the state of the outcome has declined, stayed stable, or improved since the aid project was completed. You do not need to have any familiarity with the associated aid project to provide responses. If you are unable to provide this information, you will be asked to refer us to an expert who will be able to comment on the current state of the indicator.

Are you seeking my personal views or the official views of my employer?
We are seeking your individual experiences and opinions, not the official views of your employer.

Will my responses to the survey be kept confidential? 
Rest assured that all of your responses to this survey will be kept strictly confidential. The survey findings will only be used in a statistical summary and will never be associated with your name. There are no risks to participating in the survey. We will anonymize any replication data that we are required to provide to publishing outlets.

Who are the survey respondents that you are targeting?
We have matched development experts around the world with observable outcomes from aid projects. For every outcome, we identified an expert from a donor agency, non-governmental organization, and local government that we believe could comment on the current state of the outcomes. The survey respondents are all highly trained professionals who have publicly noted expertise on development issues. We anticipate that our survey will have approximately 1000 respondents from 78 countries around the world. 

What types of institutional development outcomes will responds be asked to assess?
We have attempted to match you to indicators that fall within your expertise. As such, the indicators will be different for every respondent. Some examples of institutional development outcomes used in this project include:
  • How many Water User Associations (WUAs) are currently operating?
  • How many hectares of agricultural land is managed using sustainable land management techniques?
  • What is the cost to revenue ratio of the  regional waste management provider?
  • Is there an updated national forestry information system?
  • Is there an established national environmental pollution control program? 

How will you use the survey data? 
We will use the survey responses about each indicator as a measure of whether the outcome has improved, stayed the same, or declined. We will model whether various factors have affected the persistence of aid benefits, such as political stability and fiscal health in the host country. All of these data will be compiled from existing datasets.

How will this impact development in my country? 
Independent researchers from the College of William and Mary, the London School of Economics, and Stanford University will use the results from this survey to undertake an evaluation of when and why the institutional development benefits of aid projects persist over time. The results from this survey will also be shared with leading decision-makers in the development community.

How is this research project any different from other aid effectiveness studies? 
While we know a great deal about the sources of success and failure in aid projects, we know almost nothing about the factors that cause aid benefits to persist beyond donor involvement. This is a crucial policy question, since donor organizations are charged with investing in projects that will have long-lasting benefits. Our goal is to provide some of the first evidence on the persistence of aid benefits. As such, we are seeking experts to provide data about the current state of various indicators of institutional development. 

Is your research team interested in using this methodology to assess aid sustainability outside of the natural resource management and environmental protection sector?
Yes.  The current project is intended to be a pilot study to assess our research design and methodology.  Our goal is to obtain the resources needed to conduct similar surveys across other donor agencies and sectors to further enhance our understanding of when gains from development assistance are sustained.

Who is sponsoring this survey?
The sponsor of this survey is College of William and Mary’s Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations.  

What is the Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations (ITPIR)?
The Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations (ITPIR) is an independent research institution at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia (USA). See the {{, William & Mary website}}. ITPIR undertake research employing rigorous social scientific methods in the pursuit of knowledge that is relevant to citizens, policymakers, and scholars. ITPIR also has an established track record of administering large, grant-funded research projects—from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and National Science Foundation -- and administering high-quality, cross-national surveys, including a biennial survey of international relations faculty, which is regularly featured in Foreign Policy magazine. You can find more information about ITPIR at the {{, ITPIR homepage}}.

How did you get my contact information? 
We identified contact information for potential survey respondents by reviewing organizational websites and online conference records from provided by the United Nations, the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank.

How can I contact the researchers who are responsible for this project?
Mark Buntaine, Bradley Parks and Ben Buch are the principal investigators responsible for overseeing this research project. Their contact information is provide below:
Mark T. Buntaine
Assistant Professor of Government
College of William & Mary
(+1) 757-221-3036
[[mbuntaine, Email]]
{{, Website}}
Bradley Parks
Research Faculty
Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations
College of William & Mary
(+1) 757-221-2463
[[bcpark, Email]]
{{, Website}}

Benjamin Buch
Graduate Student
Stanford University
(+1) 703-622-0669
{{, Website}}

I am not familiar with the project referred to in the survey email, what should I do?
If you are knowledgeable about the current state of the institutional development indicator(s) identified in particular survey questions, we encourage you to answer those questions. You do not need to know anything about the original World Bank project to respond.

I am not familiar with the project referred to in the survey email but I know someone who is, how can I refer you to them?
 Please [[institutions, send an email]] to our research team identifying project/institutional development indicator, the individual you have in mind, and his or her current email address.