Michael Hicks, Ph.D., is director of the Center for Business and Economic Research and professor of economics at Ball State University. He is also an adjunct scholar with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.  He has held faculty and research positions at the Air Force Institution of Technology, Marshall University and the University of Tennessee, and holds degrees in economics from Virginia Military Institute and the University of Tennessee.

With research focusing on regional economics and public finance he is author of three books, more than forty academic papers and more than a hundred technical reports. His research has been reported in such places as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, and has appeared on NPR, CSPAN, CNBC and The Nightly Business Report.  He also writes a weekly syndicated business column.

Michael is a retired reserve infantry officer and veteran of combat and peacekeeping service in the Middle East, Africa and Korea.  He makes a home with his wife and three children in Muncie, Indiana. 

By Dr. Michael J. Hicks

Right-to-Work Laws Improve Growth Prospects

Right-to-Work Laws Work

New study shows economic advantages. … more

Economic Growth and Right-to-Work Laws

This study aims to measure the impact of right-to-work laws on states’ economic performance. It uses average annual growth rates in employment, real (inflation-adjusted) personal income and population to measure the economic well-being of right-to-work states. On the whole, the results of this analysis show that right-to-work laws have a statistically significant and economically meaningful positive impact, although the results vary. … more

A Tale of Two States: Indiana and Michigan

The Puzzling Differences Between Michigan and Indiana in This Recession

MEGA Marks 15th Anniversary

Yesterday marked the 15th anniversary of the creation of the  Michigan Economic Growth Authority, a business-tax credit and subsidy program designed to create new and keep existing jobs in the state. The Mackinac Center has published two rigorous analyses of MEGA: "MEGA: A Retrospective Assessment" in 2005, and "Michigan Economic Development Corporation: A Review and Analysis" in 2009.
Both studies found that the program had no impact on overall job creation in the state. Another study found that Michigan would have been better off economically if the state had just cut taxes for all businesses instead of operating a targeted tax break program. … more

MEGA Critique: A Response

Michigan Economic Dysfunction Corporation

MichiGONE: New Migration Data Dark and Portentous

Point of Departure

UVL Data, Migration Study Underscore Michigan Troubles

The Mackinac Center has long recommended a “Big Three” of tide-turning policies: Eliminate the Michigan Business Tax, prohibit employers from mandating union membership as a condition of employment and rein in oppressive regulation. … more

Latest Economic Numbers Confirm Failure of Status Quo

The question that apologists for the status quo have failed to answer is why investors and job providers increasingly avoid Michigan. … more

Migration Trends, Indiana Campaign Show Need for Policy Changes in Michigan

Indeed, if the state’s economic landscape doesn’t change soon it may need to change its official motto from “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you” to “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, move to Florida.” … more

Lights Out?

Demography is Destiny

MEGA: 10 Years With Little To Show

MEGA’s attempt to pick winners and losers is a poor substitute for improving the fundamentals of Michigan’s business climate. … more

MEGA: A Retrospective Assessment

April 18, 2005 marks the 10th anniversary of The Michigan Economic Growth Authority, a program established by Michigan government with the mission of spurring in-state job creation and business investment. The authority is the state of Michigan’s agent for selecting firms to receive Single Business Tax credits in return for creating new facilities and jobs in Michigan. … more