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Wößmann, Ludger (2008): Education finance in Germany from a lifecycle perspective: An efficiency-equity trade-off? [Die bildungsfinanzierung in Deutschland im licht der lebenszyklusperspektive: Gerechtigkeit im widerstreit mit effizienz?]. In: Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft, Vol. 11, No. 2: pp. 214-233
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Both theory and empirical evidence suggest that there is a lifecycle of educational finance in which the returns to educational investments tend to decrease with age. Returns tend to be highest for disadvantaged children in the early stages and for those who have already acquired high-quality education in the late stages. As a consequence, there is a complementarity between equity and efficiency in early stages and a trade-off in late stages of the educational lifecycle. In opposition to the pattern suggested by the lifecycle perspective, public educational investments in Germany are relatively low in an international comparison in early childhood and primary education and relatively high in tertiary education. Shifting public educational expenditure from late to early stages of the educational lifecycle would make German educational finance both more equitable and more efficient.