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The Wisconsin Economy: The State of the Financial Sector (Closed)

This project involves evaluation of regional trends in banking using public data that incorporates number, size, and lending activity of banks in order to compare Wisconsin trends to neighboring states and the national average. This is a comprehensive project that will compare trends in urban and rural areas of the state as well as the national average.

This project involves acting as a research assistant and possibly as a coauthor on the next publications in The Wisconsin Economy, a publication series from the CCED. The Wisconsin Economy offers topical analysis of economic issues in Wisconsin. For each topic we produce a data-driven report, a policy brief, and a series of fact sheets. These publications are targeted for elected officials, economic development practitioners, industry leaders, and concerned citizens. In the past, we have analyzed job creation, innovation, and women- owned businesses, as examples. The student will be engaged in data collection/management/organization, descriptive analysis, creating graphics, and drafting the narrative, as skills allow. With our next topic, we will focus on regional and time trends focused on community and commercial banks and their lending practices. Small community banks that primarily serve rural areas have been decreasing since the 1990s leaving some regions of the country with limited or no option for local financial services. More recently, the Great Recession had a significant impact on the banking sector. Banks dramatically decreased their lending activity, both in number and dollar value, and it has yet to recover. These changes in banking—the decline in the number of banks and in overall lending—may limit important sources of financing for residents of their communities, particularly entrepreneurs. For Wisconsin, we will evaluate regional trends in banking using publicly available data including the number and size of banks and their lending activity and compare these to trends to our state neighbors and the national average. We will also compare these trends for urban and rural areas in the state. This work may grow to be more comprehensive by also analyzing credit unions and community development financial institutions.

Specific Information


Dr. Tessa Conroy, Assistant Professor


Excel (required), STATA (strongly preferred), GIS and Tableau (preferred)


Weekly progress for 6-18 months, but project is flexible and can be divided into smaller/shorter projects

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