Dr Jo Blanden

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Research Interests

Jo's research interests lie broadly in the fields of labour and family economics. Jo's PhD was on the topic of intergenerational income mobility. Her work with Paul Gregg and Steve Machin on 'Changes in Intergenerational Mobility in Britain' found that the relationship between family income and children's adult earnings has strengthened for those born in 1970 compared to those born in 1958; this finding has attracted a large amount of policy and media interest.

Jo has continued to write about intergenerational mobility. She has published work on international comparisons and on how using different measures of mobility changes conclusions. In addition she has looked at how obtaining qualifications in adulthood affects individuals' earnings. Recent work with Lindsey Macmillan seeks to understand how social mobility is affected by educational expansion.

Her current projects continue to explore the topic of social mobility in the UK, with joint work with Lindsey Macmillan, Paul Gregg, Luke Sibieta and Ellen Greaves seeking to understand the impressive school performance of children in London, especially for those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

She has a research grant to look at the impact of nursery attendance on children's outcomes (with Sandra McNally and Kirstine Hansen) which is now part of a larger collaboration with Birgitta Rabe and Emilia Del Bono. This work indicates that the £2bn a year invested in part-time early education appears to have quite small educational benefits.

Research Collaborations

Sandra McNally, Surrey and LSE, various projects

Lindsey Macmillan, Institute of Education (intergenerational mobility)

Kirstine Hansen, Institute of Education; Birgitta Rabe and Emilia Del Bono, ISER University of Essex (the impact of nurseries)

Laure De Preux, LSE and Pedro Del Rosa, University of Sussex (intergenerational transmission of wellbeing)

Teaching

Autumn Semester

ECOM054 Applied Policy Analysis

Spring Semester

ECOM051 Policy Evaluation; Techniques and Applications

ECO2010 Intermediate Econometrics

Affiliations

Visiting Research Fellow at the London School of Economics
Projects at the Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) and the Centre for the Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE)

Contact Me

E-mail:
Phone: 01483 68 2770

Find me on campus
Room: 25 AD 00


My office hours

Monday 12-1 and 3-4.

RePEc webpage:
Download papers

Publications

Journal articles

  • Blanden J, Macmillan L. (2016) 'Educational inequality, educational expansion and intergenerational mobility'. Cambridge University Press Journal of Social Policy,

    Abstract

    The distribution of education by social background and the mobility prospects of society are intimately connected. To begin to predict future trends in mobility in the UK we bring together evidence on educational inequality by family background for cohorts from 1958 to 2000 for a range of educational outcomes. There is evidence that educational inequalities have narrowed among recent cohorts as the overall level of educational achievement has increased. This could be promising for mobility provided the labour market returns to these qualifications are maintained. However, stubborn inequalities by background at higher attainment levels imply that narrowing inequalities and expanding equality of opportunity throughout the educational distribution is a difficult task.

  • Blanden J, Del Bono E, McNally S, Rabe B. (2016) 'Universal pre-school education: the case of public funding with private provision'. Wiley Economic Journal, 126, pp. 682-723.

    Abstract

    This paper studies the effect of free pre-school education on child outcomes in primary school. We exploit the staggered implementation of free part-time pre-school for three-yearolds across Local Education Authorities in England in the early 2000s. The policy led to small improvements in attainment at age five, with no apparent benefits by age 11. We argue that this is because the expansion of free places largely crowded out privately paid care, with small changes in total participation, and was achieved through an increase in private provision, where quality is lower on average than in the public sector.

  • Blanden J, Haveman R, Smeeding T, Wilson K. (2013) 'Intergenerational Mobility in the United States and Great Britain: A Comparative Study of Parent-Child Pathways'. Wiley-Blackwell Review of Income and Wealth,
  • Blanden J, Gregg P, Macmillan L. (2013) 'Intergenerational Persistence in Income and Social Class: The Impact of Within-Group Inequality'. John Wiley and Sons Journal of Royal Statistical Society Series A: Statistics in Society, 176 (2), pp. 541-563.
  • Blanden J, Buscha F, Sturgis P, Urwin P. (2012) 'Measuring the earnings returns to lifelong learning in the UK'. Elsevier Science Economics of Education Review, 31 (4), pp. 501-514.
  • Blanden J. (2011) 'Cross-Country Rankings In Intergenerational Mobility: A Comparison of Approaches From Economics and Sociology'. Blackwell Publishing Journal of Economic Surveys, 27 (1), pp. 38-73.
  • Blanden J, Hansen K, Machin S. (2010) 'The Economic Cost of Growing Up Poor: Estimating the GDP Loss Associated with Child Poverty'. Wiley-Blackwell Fiscal Studies, 31 (3), pp. 289-311.
  • Blanden J, Machin S. (2008) 'Up and down the generational income ladder in Britain: Past changes and future prospects'. National Institute Economic Review, 205 (1), pp. 101-116.

    Abstract

    This article seeks evidence on trends in intergenerational income for cohorts born after 1970. As many of these cohorts have not yet joined the labour market, we must look at relationships between intermediate outcomes (degree attainment, test scores and non-cognitive abilities) and parental income to forecast forward from these to estimates of intergenerational earnings correlations. We find no evidence that the relationship between these intermediate outcomes and parental income have changed for more recent cohorts. Evidence from the earlier 1958 and 1970 cohorts shows that as mobility declined in the past the relationship between intermediate outcomes and parental income strengthened. We therefore conclude that, under realistic assumptions and in the absence of any significant unanticipated changes, the decline in intergenerational mobility that occurred between 1958 and 1970 birth cohorts is unlikely to continue for cohorts born from 1970 to 2000. Mobility is therefore likely to remain at or near the relatively low level observed for the 1970 birth cohort.

  • Blanden J, Gregg P, Macmillan L. (2007) 'Accounting for intergenerational income persistence: Noncognitive skills, ability and education'. Blackwell Publishing The Economic Journal, 117 (519), pp. C43-C60.
  • Blanden J, Machin S, Van Reenen J. (2006) 'Have unions turned the corner? New evidence on recent trends in union recognition in UK firms'. WILEY-BLACKWELL BRITISH JOURNAL OF INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS, 44 (2), pp. 169-190.
  • Blanden J, Machin S. (2004) 'Educational inequality and the expansion of UK higher education'. WILEY-BLACKWELL SCOTTISH JOURNAL OF POLITICAL ECONOMY, 51 (2), pp. 230-249.
  • Blanden J, Gregg P. (2004) 'Family income and educational attainment: A review of approaches and evidence for Britain'. OXFORD UNIV PRESS OXFORD REVIEW OF ECONOMIC POLICY, 20 (2), pp. 245-263.
  • Blanden J, Machin S. (2003) 'Cross-generation correlations of union status for young people in Britain'. WILEY-BLACKWELL BRITISH JOURNAL OF INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS, 41 (3), pp. 391-415.

Book chapters

  • Blanden J, Katz I, Redmond G. (2012) 'Persistent Inequality? A Comparison of the Impact of Family background on Children's Outcomes in the UK and Australia'. in Ermisch J, Jäntti M, Smeeding TM (eds.) From Parents to Children: the Intergenerational Transmission of Advantage New York : Russell Sage Foundation Publications
  • Blanden J, Macmillan L. (2011) 'Recent Developments in Intergenerational Mobility'. in Gregg P, Wadsworth J (eds.) The Labour Market in Winter: The State of Working Britain Oxford University Press Article number 13
  • Blanden J, Haveman R, Smeeding T, Wilson K. (2011) 'Understanding the Mechanisms behind Intergenerational Persistence: A Comparison Between the United States and Great Britain'. in Smeeding TM, Jèantii M, Erikson R (eds.) Persistence, Privilege, and Parenting: The Comparative Study of Intergenerational Mobility Russell Sage Foundation Publications
  • Blanden J, Machin S. (2010) 'Education and Inequality'. in Baker E, McGraw B, Peterson P (eds.) International Encyclopedia of Education, 8-Volume Set
  • Blanden J. (2010) 'Social Mobility: Concepts and Measurement'. in Uberoi V, Coutts A, Halpern D (eds.) Options for Britain II: Cross-Cutting Policy Issues - Changes and Challenges Wiley-Blackwell
  • Blanden J, Machin S. (2010) 'Education and Inequality'. in Brewer DJ, McEwan PJ (eds.) Economics of Education Elsevier
  • Blanden J. (2009) 'Intergenerational Income mobility in a Comparative Perspective'. in Dolton P, Asplund R, Barth E (eds.) Education and inequality across Europe Edward Elgar Pub

Scholarly editions

  • Blanden J, Gregg P. Family Income and Educational Attainment: A Review of Approaches and Evidence for Britain.
  • Blanden J, Buscha F, Sturgis P, Urwin P. Measuring the Returns to Lifelong Learning.
  • Blanden J. Big ideas: intergenerational mobility.
  • Blanden J, Goodman A, Gregg P, Machin S. Changes in Intergenerational Mobility in Britain.
  • Blanden J. How Much Can We Learn from International Comparisons of Intergenerational Mobility?.
  • Blanden J, Machin S. Cross-generation correlations of union status for young people in Britain..
  • Blanden J, Gregg P, Macmillan L. Accounting for Intergenerational Income Persistence: Noncognitive Skills, Ability and Education.
  • Blanden J, Gregg P, Macmillan L. Intergenerational Persistence in Income and Social Class: The Impact of Increased Inequality.
  • Blanden J, Goodman A, Gregg P, Machin S. Changes in Intergenerational Mobility in Britain.
  • Blanden J, Machin S, Reenen JV. New Survey Evidence on Recent Changes in UK Union Recognition.
  • Blanden J, Gregg P, Macmillan L. Intergenerational Persistence in Income and Social Class: The Impact of Within-Group Inequality.
  • Blanden J, Goodman A, Gregg P, Machin S. Changes in Intergenerational Mobility in Britain.
  • Blanden J, Gregg P. Family Income and Educational Attainment: A Review of Approaches and Evidence for Britain.
  • Blanden J, Machin S. Cross-Generation Correlations of Union Status For Young People in Britain.
  • Blanden J, Gregg P, Macmillan L. Explaining Intergenerational Income Persistence: Non-cognitive Skills, Ability and Education.
  • Blanden J, Gregg P, Machin S. Changes in Educational Inequality.
  • Blanden J, Gregg P, MacMillan L. Accounting for Intergenerational Income Persistence: Noncognitive Skills, Ability and Education.
  • Blanden J. (2005) Love and Money: Intergenerational Mobility and Marital Matching on Parental Income.
  • Blanden J. (2005) Amour et argent : mobilite intergenerationnelle et appariement conjugal d'apres le revenu des parents.

Working Papers

  • Blanden J, Greaves E, Gregg P, Macmillan L, Sibieta L. (2015) Understanding the improved performance of disadvantaged pupils in London. LSE Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion Social Policy in a Cold Climate, Working Paper 21, pp. 2-47.

    Abstract

    London is an educational success story, with especially good schooling results for more disadvantaged pupils. This is a dramatic reversal of fortunes. This paper uses a combination of administrative and survey data to document these improvements and understand more about why the performance of disadvantaged pupils in London has improved so much.  First of all we consider the timing of the improvement. We show that the London advantage for poor children was present in primary and secondary schools from the mid-1990s. This is well before the introduction of many recent policies that have previously been cited as the reasons for London’s success, such as the London Challenge or Academies programme.  Differences in the ethnic mix of pupils can explain some of the higher level of performance, but only about one sixth of the growth over time. Instead, the majority is explained by rising prior attainment (pupils entering secondary school with better age 11 test scores) and a reduced negative contribution of having many disadvantaged children in school.  Data from the Millennium Cohort Study shows that disadvantaged pupils in London have no advantage compared to those in the rest of England at age 5, but then show faster improvements between age 5 and 11 once they have started school.  Taken together, our evidence suggests improvements in London’s schools seem to be mainly attributable to gradual improvements in school quality rather than differences or changes in the effects of pupil and family characteristics.  Closer examination of the policies and practice in London from the mid to late 1990s could provide valuable lessons as to how educational performance can be boosted among disadvantaged groups.

Reports

'Reducing Inequality in Education and Skills: Implications for Economic Growth' with Sandra McNally
European Expert Network on the Economics of Education Analytical Report No. 21 February 2015.

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