If you want to do macro, Minnesota is a no-brainer.
I'm most interested in Macro. Most people have told me that Minnesota is stronger in Macro, but Wisconsin is stronger in anything empirical, and both places are very cold. I hear people without strong empirical skills have a hard time on the job market. Both have given me similar financial packages. I just... don't know.
Don't feel comfortable giving definitive advice on where you should go, but Guvenen+Karabarbounis- and throw in Heathcote and Perri at the Minneapolis Fed- is a pretty strong applied macro group.
You obviously won't be doing applied micro anytime soon at Minneapolis, but there is a lot of good structural work being done.
I am a phd student at UW. I definitely recommend Minnesota if you want to be successful in Academics in the future. Recently UW has giving many phd degrees to Asian central bankers (who stay univ only for 3 years!) very easily, which means there will be less value of UW's phd in the near future. The performance of UW students in the job market will become worse too. Minnesota is very rigid to permitting phd degree to grad students and keep their values.
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