Investment in early childhood in Australia: International comparisons and recent trends

Katz, Ilan; Redmond, Gerry
June 2009
Health Sociology Review;Jun2009, Vol. 18 Issue 1, p94
Academic Journal
There is growing recognition that investment by governments on children in their early years is an important part of social policy. However there is currently little information either about how much governments invest on children of different ages, or about what the optimum investment in the early years would look like. Using currently available Australian datasets, this article explores two approaches to estimate the adequacy of investment in early childhood; comparing government expenditure between countries, and analysing one country (in this case Australia) in terms of expenditure over time on children of different ages. We find that, overall, Australia spends more than the average of OECD countries on the early years, but that a much higher proportion of this expenditure is spent on cash transfers to parents rather than on early care and education. Furthermore, spending on the early years has grown proportionately to spending on older children over the past several years. The paper ends with a number of suggestions for further research which will refine the analysis of investment in the early years.


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