Synthesizes various strands of social science research and thought, including evolution of thought about development in anthropology, sociology, political science, and growth economics

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Ruttan advances a model of institutional change, which creates an environment where resource and cultural endowments and technical change can take place. The disequilibria resulting from such changes create opportunities for the design of more efficient institutional arrangements. The design perspective employed in the book stands in sharp contrast to organic or evolutionary perspectives.
With its emphasis on interdisciplinarity, Social Science Knowledge and Economics Developmentis important reading for social scientists, development economists, and in the development studies classroom.
Vernon W. Ruttan is Regents Professor Emeritus in the Department of Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota.

Vernon W. Ruttan is a Regents' Professor Emeritus in the Departments of Economics and Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota. He attended Yale University and the University of Chicago.

His research has been in the fields of agricultural development, resource economics, and research policy. Ruttan is the author of Agricultural Research Policy; Agricultural Development: An International Perspective (with Yujiro Hayami); Agriculture, Environment, and Health: Sustainable Development in the 21st Century; and United States Development Assistance Policy: The Domestic Politics of Foreign Economic Aid. His most recent book is Technology, Growth, and Development: An Induced Innovation Perspective.

Ruttan has been elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and to membership in the National Academy of Sciences. He has been awarded honorary degrees from Rutgers University (1978), Christian Albrecht University of Kiel, and Purdue University.