Public Policy Forum Blog

Wisconsin's move to the "new economy"

The Kaufman Foundation's latest ranking of states puts Wisconsin 30th. The 2007 State New Economy Index finds that states in the Midwest, including Wisconsin, are not adapting their economies to compete effectively in regional and global markets. The report uses 26 indicators to rank the states.

Wisconsin's highest rank, 12th, is for package exports; its lowest rank, 47th, for job churning. Our state's rank on most of the other indicators hovers around 30th, although we rank 15th in both online population and technology in schools.

The most interesting and relevant analysis for our region, however, is the report's conclusion that economic success in the future will not be due to old-fashioned, industrial-based versions of economic development, such as big-company relocations. The new model of economic development will include the creation and retention of value-added, high-wage jobs. The states ranking highest show above-average levels of entrepreneurship, and most have a solid infrastructure that fosters and supports technological innovation. Many also boast high levels of domestic and foreign immigration of skilled knowledge workers seeking good employment opportunities coupled with a good quality of life.

Which model of economic development is in use in southeastern Wisconsin?

Anneliese Dickman