Sarah graduated from the University of Hull in 1989 and gained her MA in Economics at the University of Warwick in 1990 and her PhD from the University of Loughborough and was appointed to a lectureship there in 1994. Sarah was promoted to a Senior Lectureship in 2001 at the University of Leicester and took up a Chair in Economics at the University of Sheffield in 2005 and was Head of Department from 2006 to 2011. She has been a member of the Steering Committee of the U.K. Department of Work and Pensions sponsored Work and Pensions Economics Study Group since 2001. Sarah is currently a member of the Royal Economic Society's Steering Group of the Conference of Heads of University Departments of Economics and the Royal Economic Society Council.
She has published in a wide range of journals including: Economics of Education Review; Economic Inquiry; Economics Letters; Industrial and Labor Relations Review; Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization; Journal of Population Economics, Journal of the Royal Statistical Society (Series A); and the Southern Economic Journal. Her research interests include applied microeconometrics, the economics of education, labour economics and household finance.
She joined IZA as a Research Fellow in October 2008. In March 2015, Sarah was appointed as an Independent Member of the Low Pay Commission