Millennium Challenge Corporation
Improving roads is a high priority for many developing countries because reducing travel time and lowering vehicle operating costs can have widespread economic and poverty reduction benefits.
Mathematica is evaluating the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s roads investment in Ghana that took place during the first compact with the country. The evaluation will reestimate the economic rate of return for the roads and assess the performance of maintenance practices, road users, and transportation costs. Using a mixed-methods approach, researchers will collect and analyze road engineering data, road user data, qualitative data, and administrative records. In addition, the team is developing an impact evaluation design using satellite and household survey and roads data to assess the impact of the roads investments on income. The evaluation will use the original program theory of change for the investment and updates to the theory of change to develop the analytical approach and identify intermediate outcomes that help to predict the longer-term impacts of the roads. The data collection approach will also focus on measuring the variables that have the highest impact on economic rate of return estimates to streamline the collection of new data. Mathematica aims to develop lessons from this evaluation to make future evaluations of infrastructure projects more cost effective and helpful for deciding future roads investments. As the Millennium Challenge Corporation develops its approach to evaluating roads projects, the research team will document lessons learned to inform future evaluations.