State Technology and Science Index | About the Authors
Ross DeVol is the chief research officer at the Milken Institute. He oversees research on international, national, and subnational growth performance; access to capital and its role in economic growth and job creation; and health-related topics. DeVol has put the organization in the national limelight with groundbreaking research on technology and its impact on regional and national economies, and on the economic and human consequences of chronic disease. He specializes in the effects of research and development activities, international trade, human capital and labor-force skills training, entrepreneurship, early-stage financing, and quality-of-place issues on the geographic distribution of economic activity. His "Best-Performing Cities: Where America's Jobs Are Created" was first published in 2004 and has been regularly updated since. It reveals which cities are creating jobs and economic opportunity and describes the factors determining long-term success. In "A Matter of Degrees: The Effect of Educational Attainment on Regional Economic Prosperity," he and colleagues demonstrated the high returns on investment in higher education and the research spillovers that universities facilitate. DeVol is ranked among the "Super Stars" of Think Tank Scholars by International Economy magazine and appears on national television and radio programs, including Fox News, CNN's "Moneyline," "Wall Street Journal Report with Maria Bartiromo," Bloomberg West, Fox Business News, and CNBC. He is frequently quoted in print media, such as the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, Investor's Business Daily, Forbes, the Economist, Time, and others.
Joe Lee is a research analyst with the Milken Institute on the regional economics team. He specializes in labor economics with a focus on human capital and economic development. Before joining the Institute, he was a lab instructor at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) for the Department of Economics and was a part of Amazon's supply chain execution team in Seattle. Lee received his master's in economics from CSULB and graduated from the Evergreen State College with a dual major in economics and finance, minoring in mathematics.
Minoli Ratnatunga is an economist and associate director of research at the Milken Institute and leads the Institute's regional economics research. With her team, she investigates the key economic development issues facing regions, including competitiveness, fostering innovation and entrepreneurship, and building human capital. Her publications include "California's Innovation-Based Economy: Policies to Maintain and Enhance It," "Regional Performance over Time: Thriving and Reviving Amid Economic Challenges," and the "Best-Performing Cities" series. Before joining the Institute, she worked for eight years at the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, a regional economic development organization focused on improving the competitiveness of and quality of life in the Pittsburgh region. There, Ratnatunga focused her research on energy policy, transportation and infrastructure funding, and state tax competitiveness, working with civic and business leaders to help key decision-makers make better policy choices. She also led the economic impact study practice, managing the production of research reports that captured the importance of strategic industries and projects to the Pennsylvania economy. Ratnatunga has a bachelor's degree in philosophy and economics from the London School of Economics and a master's in public policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University.