Sarah Hughes

Sarah Hughes

Senior Fellow
Pronouns she/her/hers

Sarah Hughes has more than 25 years of experience leading research, evaluation, and learning efforts to measure project effectiveness, inform policy action, and improve project implementation. Her expertise spans high-quality and cost-effective research designs using innovative methods and sources for data collection in low-income countries, business development, and directing large, complex projects.

Since joining Mathematica in 2015, Hughes has directed impact and program evaluations and provided leadership on survey methodology for projects in low-and middle-income country contexts. She leads evaluations of large-scale electricity generation, transmission, and distribution projects in Benin and Senegal for the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). For the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), she has led a rapid assessment of the clean energy finance landscape across 12 countries in the Caribbean, providing recommendations to USAID for creating a catalyst fund and policy support for grid-scale renewable energy and energy-efficiency projects, and other policy and knowledge management supports to increase climate resilience in the energy sector. For Mathematica’s impact evaluations of MCC-funded roads in Ghana and Tanzania, Hughes directed the collection of engineering and economic data for inputs to the Highway Development and Maintenance Management System model used to analyze the interventions’ return on investment. To assess the impact of energy-sector interventions, Hughes combines high-frequency, high-volume grid-level data from utilities; remote-sensing grid monitors and smart meters; and large-scale repeated phone surveys to measure changes in electricity quality and their outcomes for households and businesses. Hughes frequently provides technical assistance and practical training on research methods and data collection techniques to government and nongovernmental agencies and is a member of the World Bank’s Technical Advisory Group on Survey Methodology.

Hughes is a member of the American Evaluation Association and the World Association of Public Opinion Researchers and is the author of many professional papers. She holds a Ph.D. in political science from Northwestern University.

  • Complex evaluations in low-income countries
  • Experimental and quasi-experimental impact evaluations
  • Survey, qualitative, remote, and high-volume and high-frequency data collection and analysis
  • Cross-national, cross-cultural data collection design
  • Mixed-methods program evaluation
Focus Area Topics
  • Energy
  • Food and Agriculture
  • Education

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