The second annual, “Wisconsin and the National Economy” event took place earlier this month, October 17th, 2018 on the UW-Madison Campus. This year’s event was highlighted by a presentation from keynote speaker, John Cochrane of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Students, faculty, and local community members and policy-makers gathered for his presentation, “Free to Grow”.
CROWE Director Noah Williams also gave an overview of research at CROWE, which in its first year of operation has produced a number of research reports and blog posts that have influenced the policy debate in Wisconsin and beyond. In addition, the Center has been greatly assisted by the efforts of UW students, both undergraduates and graduate students. Williams also discussed recent trends in the Wisconsin economy, which is experiencing a labor market that is historically tight. He then touched on CROWE research evaluating polices: the Manufacturing and Agriculture Credit which has boosted employment, and the increase in the minimum wage in Minnesota which has reduced employment of young and low skill workers in that state. Both of the aforementioned posts and their related media coverage are available online at crowe.wisc.edu.
Following Williams’ introduction, John Cochrane gave a presentation entitled “Free to Grow,” which focused on the importance of economic growth. He discussed a number of policy applications, where reforms could reduce inefficiencies and encourage competition, which would spur faster growth. In his wide-ranging discussion, Cochrane touched on applications in health care, financial markets, regulation, taxes, social programs, and state and local policy. In each setting he sought to move past the stale policy debates between political actors on the right and left by focusing on the underlying economic principles. His key message was that in all cases incentives matter, and that by trying to fix one problem, policymakers have often implemented “solutions” which have caused further problems. He argued for more direct policy solutions, exhorting policymakers that, “If you’re going to do it, do it efficiently (and publicly).”
The evening concluded with a Q&A session let by graduate students in the department. Over the course of the year, the Center has been greatly assisted by the efforts of UW students, both undergraduate and graduate students. If you are interested in learning more about CROWE’s annual event or getting involved with the Center, please contact us here.
Presentation Materials: slides from “Wisconsin and the National Economy” 2018 are available under “Presentation Materials” here.