Ontario vs. Michigan: Policy Lessons from the Wolverine State

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Michigan’s strong economic performance since 2011 stands in contrast to Ontario, a jurisdiction that also has a large manufacturing base as a central feature of its economy but one that has not experienced an economic resurgence comparable to Michigan’s in recent years. Between 2010 and 2014, Michigan’s real economic output has increased slightly faster than Ontario’s, despite slower population growth. Michigan’s manufacturing output growth exceeded Ontario’s significantly between 2011 and 2014. Furthermore, while Ontario has experienced a dramatic and economically harmful run-up in public debt since 2011, Michigan has actually seen a slight decline in net public debt as a share of its economy. These results stand in stark contrast to the situation in the early years of this century, when Ontario consistently outperformed Michigan on most measures of economic performance.

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