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The Hamburg Philharmonic Hall (Elbphilharmonie) has been under construction since 2007 and will cost at least seven times more than initially planned.
The Hamburg Philharmonic Hall (Elbphilharmonie) has been under construction since 2007 and will cost at least seven times more than initially planned.
(CHRISTIAN CHARISIUS/REUTERS)

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Is Germany’s legendary efficiency more fiction than fact?

Talk about flight delays. The opening of a new airport in Berlin, under construction since 2006, has just been delayed – for the fourth time. Costs are, of course, out of control as well. So far the 100-per-cent government-owned project is coming at more than 50 per cent above the scheduled price.

It’s a universal problem. Nine out of 10 public infrastructure projects end up costing more than initially planned, according to by Bent Flyvbjerg of Oxford’s Said Business School, a proportion which has not changed much for seven decades.