"Julia Lane, who until last year directed the science of science and innovation policy programme at the US National Science Foundation in Arlington, Virginia, calls the Battelle report's numbers "ridiculous". Lane, now the senior managing economist at the American Institutes for Research in Washington DC, says that the analysis "reinforces this notion that science is a slot machine that you put money in, and magic happens and money pops out at the end"."My prior is that it has probably generated a whole lot value but you don't determine that number by doing a little linear algebra on genomics firms and multiplying it by the money spent. It's not even that jobs are such a bad outcome to think about, but if you're going to think in those terms you don't want to just multiply out how many people are employed - you want to think in terms of some kind of multiplier estimate and the opportunity costs you face (as the article states).
I was talking with Ryan Murphy about green tech multiplier claims a couple weeks ago and the same sort of thing came up. A lot of time what you'll see is something like the ratio of private sector jobs in the green tech industry to publically supported jobs in the green tech industry that comes to a multiplier of ten or something crazy like that. This is obviously a little better than that, but it could still use a lot of work.
Come to think of this, you see this a lot with high skill immigrants too... I believe the latest figure I've heard is that one high skill immigrant creates four jobs for Americans.
Ummm... I don't think so, guys.