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: Traditional economic development doesn't work

September 20, 2014
The cost of luring a firm to town has skyrocketed, while the benefits have plummeted. The United States has created more than 90 million net new jobs over the past 45 years, but fewer “attractable” jobs are available today than in 1969.
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HICKS: Focus on shrinking the federal government

September 13, 2014
Small-government sentiment runs strong in Indiana, and we can be pleased with the resulting low taxes, thoughtful regulatory environment and greater personal freedom. Still, I think much of the small-government movement in Indiana targets the wrong problems.
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Hicks: Sluggish economy complicates forecasting

September 6, 2014
When the economy is getting much better or much worse, the trend is obvious even if there are occasional mixed signals. When the economy changes little, almost every piece of new data can be confusing.
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Hicks: Liberalism on campus is mostly irrelevant

August 30, 2014
That academia is a creature of the left is hardly in question. Voting patterns and political contributions of professors are widely studied, and astonishingly leftist. Diversity efforts seek to build a cadre of people who look different but think exactly alike. Still, I wonder how much it really matters.
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Hicks: Who actually pays the taxes? Good question

August 23, 2014
Among the most misunderstood concepts in public policy is the burden of taxes. One unfortunate result is a good bit of bitterness and calumny over who pays their fair share.
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Hicks: College success comes to those who persevere

August 16, 2014
About half of all young people try college, but only half of that group finish a degree. The difference between these groups is almost wholly due to old-fashioned hard work and perseverance.
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Let corporations influence laws governing them

August 9, 2014
Corporations are among our oldest institutions. Something like a joint stock company probably triggered the earliest formal written communication—the accounting ledger.
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Hicks: World still suffering from World War I fallout

August 2, 2014
World War I began a century ago this week, and its legacy continues to have economic, social and political effects.
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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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