MikeHicks

Economic Analysis columnist

Hicks is director of Ball State University’s Center for Business and Economic Research and an associate professor of economics.  He has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Virginia Military Institute, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from the University of Tennessee.  He has been on the faculty at Tennessee, Marshall University and the Air Force Institute of Technology.  Hicks has written two books, more than 25 scholarly papers and over 100 technical reports.  His work extends from the economic consequences of Hurricane Katrina and Wal-mart in local communities, to state taxation and federal environmental policy.  He has testified before the U.S. Senate, several state legislatures and in federal and state courts.  Hicks is an Army Reserve officer with 24 years of service, including combat and peacekeeping tours.  He’s married to the former Janet Thomas, and has a daughter and two sons.

E-mail:  cber@bsu.edu

Recent Articles

Hicks: Don't confuse inflation with supply and demand

July 26, 2014
Almost nothing in economics seems to confuse people as much as monetary inflation. That confusion leaves an intellectual void into which some of the least credible ideas of the modern world crawl.
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Hicks: Falling state income tax revenue is bad omen

July 19, 2014
Nationally, from July through September 2013, growth in state income tax collections slowed appreciably. Only a few states were spared, and here in Indiana they actually shrank slightly, as they did in five other states.
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Hicks: Indiana good, but not optimal, for small firms

July 12, 2014
a recen studied of states' friendliness to small businesses gave Indiana poor grades for ease in finding workers, leveling blame on networking and training programs. This is interesting, but almost certainly not the actual problem.
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Hicks: Rulings limit state power, embrace freedom

July 2, 2014
This past couple of weeks has offered a rare series of court rulings that have implications for both households and businesses.
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Hicks: Loopholes help one class at expense of others

June 28, 2014
Every loophole, deduction, exemption, abatement and carve-out is designed to benefit one class of citizens at the expense of others. These are neither fair nor simple. They are rarely effective.
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Hicks: Accountants derail irresponsible governments

June 21, 2014
New Government Accounting Standards Board rules require state and municipal governments to report their pensions in ways more like that of private sector pensions.
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Hicks: Subsidizing filmmaking is a losing proposition

June 14, 2014
Without even touching upon the fairness of Indiana taxpayers subsidizing Hollywood studios, film tax credits are of dubious value. The jobs they generate are transient, often low-paying and unlikely to meet the simplest benefit-cost calculus.
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Hicks: Technology might be suppressing robust growth

June 7, 2014
Quarter after quarter of booming growth, seen for several decades, might have slowed permanently. The 2000s saw only five rapid-growth quarters, and this decade has had two. It might mean that higher average growth rates are more difficult to achieve due to structural changes in the economy related to technology.
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Hicks: Income inequality tied to capital investments

May 31, 2014
French economist Thomas Piketty’s new book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” is far and away one of the most important books on the economy in some time.
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HICKS: Promises to veterans too expansive to keep

May 24, 2014
A promise of nearly infinite health care to any large group of people has a nearly infinite cost.
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Hicks: Hoosiers voting to pay for better public services

May 17, 2014
I have long argued that Hoosier taxpayers are willing to spend more in places where they can see results. The results of the recent election suggest I am right about that.
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Hicks: Many women sacrifice careers for their children

May 10, 2014
Mother’s Day is a splendid opportunity to think about the evolving economic effects of women as parents, how this influences their economic lives, and how women value motherhood in economic terms.
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Hicks: State, local government unbalanced in Indiana

May 3, 2014
Having lived and worked in three states over the past decade, I have watched how state policy influences local government.
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Hicks: Obama pitches gender pay gap to the gullible

April 26, 2014
If we separate people into two groups by age, education, gender, race, occupation or almost any other factor, their average wages differ in some way. But this sort of comparison doesn’t tell us much. If we use statistical methods that account for multiple characteristics, wage differences for most factors disappear.
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Hicks: Tax rates only half the story of government

April 17, 2014
With the passing of April 15 and the annual ritual of tax filings, news pages are filled with discussion about the size of federal, state and local tax burdens.
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Hicks: Measuring the immeasurable is huge challenge

April 12, 2014
One aspect of economic research I think is especially powerful is the ability to measure or monetize the things humans clearly value but for which a market price is not necessarily apparent.
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Hicks: Economics lessons for today are simple, hard

April 5, 2014
Far too much worry is placed in the short-run ups and downs of the economy, but I am not worried about business where errors are ultimately punished. The real worry is that public policy will extend its embrace of short-run fixes, which are chimerical.
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Hicks: Medical firms are largest perpetrators of fraud

March 29, 2014
Medicaid and Medicare fraud is where the real money lies, costing taxpayers some $100 billion a year, or 10 percent of total costs. This is many times more than the highest estimate of fraud in all other assistance programs combined. Nearly all of this fraud is perpetrated by health care providers.
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Hicks: Inflation could precede real economic recovery

March 22, 2014
The new Keynesian model suggests that a government stimulus might work to temporarily boost consumption or investment just like the old Keynesian model does. But the new model requires businesses and households to adjust their buying because of fears of expected inflation.
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Hicks: Local government should track job growth, too

March 15, 2014
Before we get down to evaluating economic development incentives, we ought to understand just what it means to “create a job” and how we can honestly evaluate tax incentive policies.
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Hicks: Choke Russian ambitions with a Fed strategy

March 8, 2014
The Soviet, er ... Russian, invasion of Ukraine offers a nice reminder of JFK’s old dictum that domestic policy can defeat us, but foreign policy can get us killed. As we pay higher gasoline prices, we ought to think about the world as it is and our options.
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Hicks: Public policies muddle minimum wage debate

March 1, 2014
Late last month, a Congressional Budget Office study on a proposed minimum-wage hike concluded that raising the minimum wage 39 percent, from $7.25 to $10.10, would reduce employment by roughly 500,000 jobs.
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Hicks: Marriage patterns add to income inequality

February 22, 2014
After World War II, Americans began to marry later in life and with far fewer geographic restrictions. The “marriage market” shifted from small towns to colleges and workplaces. So, educational attainment, not race and religion, became a more important factor.
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Hicks: It's irrational to dislike most rich people

February 15, 2014
The plain fact is, of the households with earnings in the top fifth, only 0.0016 percent earn more than half their income from stock dividends. Simply put, most rich households work. It is also plainly true that someone else’s riches don’t come at the expense of the rest of us. There is not a finite amount of income.
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Hicks: Sustainable middle class now built on work

February 8, 2014
America's middle class was first built upon an unsustainable combination of low-productivity, high-wage jobs in large factories. The second half of the 20th century saw a different middle class emerge, with workers across many industries applying high-value-added human capital to the production of goods and increasingly services.
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Hicks: Policy levers to fight poverty hit their limitations

February 1, 2014
The big lesson on research and data about poverty is the limited effectiveness of public policy. For healthy people in long-term poverty, nearly all have made at least one of the big three mistakes: quitting high school, using drugs or having kids without a partner.
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  1. Those of you yelling to deport them all should at least understand that the law allows minors (if not from a bordering country) to argue for asylum. If you don't like the law, you can petition Congress to change it. But you can't blindly scream that they all need to be deported now, unless you want your government to just decide which laws to follow and which to ignore.

  2. 52,000 children in a country with a population of nearly 300 million is decimal dust or a nano-amount of people that can be easily absorbed. In addition, the flow of children from central American countries is decreasing. BL - the country can easily absorb these children while at the same time trying to discourage more children from coming. There is tension between economic concerns and the values of Judeo-Christian believers. But, I cannot see how the economic argument can stand up against the values of the believers, which most people in this country espouse (but perhaps don't practice). The Governor, who is an alleged religious man and a family man, seems to favor the economic argument; I do not see how his position is tenable under the circumstances. Yes, this is a complicated situation made worse by politics but....these are helpless children without parents and many want to simply "ship" them back to who knows where. Where are our Hoosier hearts? I thought the term Hoosier was synonymous with hospitable.

  3. Illegal aliens. Not undocumented workers (too young anyway). I note that this article never uses the word illegal and calls them immigrants. Being married to a naturalized citizen, these people are criminals and need to be deported as soon as humanly possible. The border needs to be closed NOW.

  4. Send them back NOW.

  5. deport now

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