Michael Hicks

Michael Hicks

Michael Hicks is the George and Frances Ball Distinguished Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for Business and Economic Research and at Ball State University. He has held faculty positions at the Air Force Institute of Technology, Marshall University and the University of Tennessee. His research has been reported in such places as the Economist, the Atlantic, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, NPR, CNN, CSPAN, CNBC, Fox Business and The Nightly Business Report.


Taking a close look at the effects of latest workforce training, higher education bill

By: - February 15, 2024

Indiana’s legislature is considering House Bill 1001, which contains numerous small changes to previous higher education bills.  Most of its provisions seem pretty straightforward, and simply modify or tweak existing legislation. But there are also some concerns.  The bill would require universities to better compile and maintain reports on graduates, faculty and spending. That is […]

public health spending

Why public health spending matters

By: - August 21, 2023

I frequently am asked why Indiana is spending more money on public health and why it might be worthwhile. For the most part, these are good faith questions. After all, our own health should be a primary concern of any responsible adult. But, I have a good, if unusual example why public health work has […]

bills session

Money, illusion and the state budget

By: - May 24, 2023

Indiana’s legislative session addressed some of the most vexing public problems the state faces: hospital monopolies, housing, collapse in college attendance and a slew of social issues. But one aspect of the session is worth considering above all else — the state budget — because of its broad effect on almost everything else.  It has […]


Calling out Indiana’s venture capital hospitals

By: - March 30, 2023

Indiana has long had not-for-profit statutes that permit firms to operate free of taxes. The legislative language on the purpose of a nonprofit is intentionally vague. The General Assembly wisely knew that there were too many different reasons for creating a not-for-profit entity, from youth sports and church daycare to hospitals. However, the best Indiana […]


Time for a review of Indiana’s tax system, spending

By: - February 8, 2023

The legislature is poised to commence a two-year study of our tax system. There are many fine reasons to launch this process. While Indiana’s tax system is generally sound, there are numerous small matters that require improvement. Overall, tax revenue growth doesn’t keep pace with the growth of the economy or the demands of public […]


Workplace safety problems a window on deeper concerns

By: - November 15, 2022

The Indianapolis Star recently published a lengthy expose of Indiana’s workplace inspection program. The authors detailed what appears to be COVID-specific failures that caused Indiana to plummet into last place nationally with safety inspections. This report darkens what was overall a superb COVID response by Gov. Eric Holcomb’s administration. The drop in safety inspections accompanied […]


It’s quality of life, not cost of living

By: - September 12, 2022

Simple economic ideas aren’t really very hard to understand. So, I’m often puzzled to hear folks make the claim that Indiana’s low cost of living is an attractive feature. It is not. A low cost of living is actually evidence of chronic economic problems, and is maybe the last thing anyone should want to claim […]


Inflation, Money Illusion and State Budgets

By: - July 28, 2022

One revelation from this bout of inflation is that many folks, from all walks of life, have no earthly idea what is happening. In turn, they have little idea what to do, or how to think about the future. Nowhere is this more telling than in the way in which taxes and budgets are debated. […]