• Commentary

Examining Wichita’s Economy

Wichita, Kansas, began as a trading post on the Chisolm Trail and was incorporated as a city in 1870. Later, Wichita’s economy grew to become a major production hub for aircraft. In fact, Wichita became known as “The Air Capital of the World”. As a result, it is currently the largest city in the state of Kansas. In detail, as of the 2020 census, the Wichita metro area had a population of 647,610.

Econ Weekly decided to highlight Wichita, as its featured place in its latest issue. In order to discuss Wichita’s economy and current local efforts for economic development they needed expertise. As a result, they turned to the authorities at the Institute for the Study of Economic Growth (ISEG).

ISEG Executive Director Ted Bolema and Research Fellow Eric Mota Give Insight on Wichita’s Economy

On May 24, 2021, Jay Shabat quoted Dr. Ted Bolema, Executive Director of ISEG, and Dr. Eric Mota, Research Fellow at ISEG, as experts in Econ Weekly.


Dr. Eric Mota, an entrepreneurship professor at Wichita State’s Barton School of Business, highlights the city’s outsized share of the Defense Department’s budget. Especially for aviation related maintenance, repair and overhaul. Mota is also a research fellow with the university’s Institute for the Study of Economic Growth. In addition, he adds that Wichita’s aerospace prowess is now enabling a move into specialized manufacturing for other highly regulated industries. These include energy and pharmaceuticals.

His colleague Ted Bolema, the executive director of the Institute, names some other big employers in the city. For example this includes the energy-focused conglomerate Koch Industries, often in the news for its political activities. Cargill, a giant in the agricultural sector, has a big Wichita presence. As in so many other places across America, Amazon will soon open a new Wichita distribution center.

Jay Shabat
Econ Weekly

Read the whole article at the Econ Weekly.