As part of its propaganda campaign, the U has released a study about the U's economic impact on the state of Minnesota. Since the U paid for the report, the results are undoubtedly quite satisfactory to administrators. The message: the U is a good economic investment, so give us more money. One can view the equivalent of the executive summary at the link above. Madradprof did not see a link to the full report there. Setting aside the idiocy of contracting the report in the first place, the report strikes me as utterly unconvincing. The main claim is that through the direct money that the U spends, and the indirect spending that results from others who spend that money in turn--the multiplier effect--the U contributes gazillions of dollars to the state's economy and provides lots of jobs. Ok, so what? By this logic using this money for other public services would be just as beneficial in that it would also create jobs and put money into the economy. So why give the money to the U? The case for research money is a little more convincing, since this money comes from outside the state, but they omit that these grants don't cover their costs and are in effect subsidized by bonding bills--needed to build the fancy facilities to carry out the research--and tuition-generating units of the university.
The company that prepared the economic impact report, Tripp Umbach, wrote another report for the U in 2004 to convince legislators to sink money into biomedical venture capitalism. The report claimed that this investment would create over 12,000 jobs. Alas, things have not turned out so well. One expert consulted back in 2004 commented, "One should always be leery of written-to-order studies."