Lawrence Jacobs: Right vs. Left in the Midwest:
MINNESOTA and Wisconsin... in 2010... diverged... began a natural experiment.... Wisconsin elected Republicans to majorities in the Legislature and selected a... Republican governor, Scott Walker.... Which side of the experiment--the new right or modern progressivism--has been most effective in increasing jobs and improving business opportunities, not to mention living conditions?... Three years into Mr. Walker’s term, Wisconsin lags behind Minnesota in job creation and economic growth.... Higher taxes and economic growth in Minnesota have attracted a surprisingly broad coalition...
Three years is too short a time to draw any conclusions about state-level economic policies and economic growth. But if the political differences persist, the two states do make a very good matched pair for comparisons: it's not as though one has oil and the other does not, after all.
On a broader scale, there is the possibility of learning a lot about American political economy by comparing the places where the "throw the bums out" effect of the 2010 election was strong enough to, well, throw the bums out and divert the course of governance from its previous pattern, and where the effect was not.