The promotion of greater opportunities is a central goal of public policy in the UK and the University of Surrey’s work on intergenerational mobility, which looks at incomes and status across generations, has contributed significantly to policy and public debate on the extent and drivers of intergenerational mobility in Britain.
Dr Blanden’s work on changes in intergenerational mobility in the UK 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 generated a large amount of policy and media impact. Her findings have featured in UK Government and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) outputs; and contributed directly to Government policy on intergenerational mobility. Related policies directly influenced by the research include the Family Nurse Partnership (costing £17.5m), free nursery provision for disadvantaged two-year-olds (costing £760m by 2014/15) and the funding of a new cohort study in 2012 (£33.5m).
By presenting research findings to the Children and Families Select Committee, the Liberal Democrat Social Mobility Commission and advising the Government's Social Mobility Strategy, Blanden’s research has actively informed policy decisions and funding.
Dr Blanden continues to work within the field of intergenerational mobility, exploring how social mobility is affected by educational expansion and working with the Nuffield foundation on the impact of nursery attendance on children's outcomes. Such work continues to contribute to policy and media debate on social equality, an issue which has become increasingly prominent in times of austerity.