OSU Economics professors gain
international attention for tax cut study

by Ariel West 
(September 1, 2017 at 7:49 am)

Dan Rickman (left) and Hongbo Wang (right) used a new technique to study the tax cuts in Kansas and Wisconsin.

Oklahoma State University Economics professors Dan Rickman and Hongbo Wang have been gaining media attention from both national and international sources for their research about recent tax cuts in Kansas and Wisconsin.

Rickman and Wang analyzed the 2011 tax cuts in both Wisconsin and Kansas to determine whether the cuts actually spurred the economic growth that was intended. Using a new analyzing method called the synthetic control method, Rickman and Wang grouped like-states into units to make better comparisons.

“We analyzed Kansas and Wisconsin from 2011 to 2015 by comparing them to states that had similar economies,” Rickman said. “Looking at employment, population, per capita income, poverty, and housing prices, we used this new technique to compare states with similar economies. As a result, we saw that states that cut income taxes performed worse when the claim was that the states would perform better. Government expenditures had to decline. The new businesses never came because businesses didn’t value lower taxes as highly as, say, an educated workforce or good roads.”

Wisconsin Public Television aired an interview with Dan Rickman on July 14, 2017. Rickman was also contacted by Radio France Internationale in June and was interviewed over the phone on air. The Washington Post published the study in June.