Yep. IF a tech roll results in a development AND it is the right thing for a country, it can be a game changer. But it can also result in nothing or a tech that doesn’t really help.
In summary, $$ could be spent on a ?? benefit. Once players start to advance in skill, most will spend their IPCs on units because $$ spent on units can have a calculated benefit of XX.
It is simply a matter of taking a known result from buying units over a variable outcome from developing tech.