THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN WISCONSIN AT DEKALB? I've sometimes joked about Madison influences on life and work at Northern Illinois University, but there's a serious point. One way to look at the expansion and diversification of the State Line's economy is as cross-border integration. A more ominous interpretation might be the expansion of the Chicago suburbs north of the Cheddar Curtain.
Wisconsin should think about marketing itself "as a metro area, with proximity to Chicago with a lower-cost-of-living advantage," said William A. Testa, senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

When it comes to providing support services for business, such as lawyers and accountants, the work increasingly will flow to downtown Chicago's Loop, he said.
In some ways, the suburbanization of southeastern Wisconsin has already begun. It's an easier trip to Great America from Milwaukee or Waukesha than from many parts of greater Chicago and the Fox Valley, and the expanded Hiawatha service makes Mitchell Field an option for North Shore travelers.

That cost-of-living advantage? My colleague at the Fed is certainly aware the bid-rent curve hasn't been abolished.

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