Nothing could be more valuable than creating a new paradigm in economics, particularly in the field of agricultural development. A notable example is T. W. Schultz's (1964) thesis regarding "efficient but poor" small-scale farmers in low-income or developing countries. No less influential is Vernon Ruttan and Yujiro Hayami's thesis concerning the role of induced technical and institutional innovation; arguing that as the scarcity of a factor of production (e.g. labor) increases, technology that saves on the use of the factor is induced to develop, along with supportive institutions, including property rights systems, public-sector research and extension systems, and marketing institutions. In Chapter 2 of this volume, they note that "it became clear that the induced technical change theme could provide the structure needed to integrate a large body of theoretical and empirical research on agricultural development." In fact, their research provided a consistent and effective framework to analyze how markets, technology development and institutional changes interact to facilitate agricultural development.
Their perspectives are wide, covering large geographical areas and a thorough analysis of the historical development of agriculture in the United States, Japan, and many other Asian countries. The book collects the most influential papers of Ruttan and Hayami in order to aid readers in understanding how these highly influential agricultural economists developed their perspectives.