Vernon W. Ruttan

University of Minnesota

August 16, 1924 - August 18, 2008

Scientific Discipline: Human Environmental Sciences
Membership Type:
Member (elected 1990)

Vernon Ruttan was a leader in the field of applied economics. He was well known for revolutionizing thinking about agriculture, technology, and social change. His primary contribution was the “induced innovation” theory he developed with Japanese economist Yujiro Hayami, which states that people circumvent scarcity of resources through social changes and technological advances. His research also looked at the history of agricultural development in various countries and the impact of foreign aid. His research was consistently recognized for its excellence and importance to policy makers and economists.

Ruttan received his BA degree from Yale University in 1948 and his MA degree and PhD from the University of Chicago in 1950 and 1952. He joined the Department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University in 1955 and quickly rose to the rank of professor in 1960.  He joined the University of Minnesota to head the Department of Agricultural Economics in 1965. Ruttan also made substantial contributions to the non-academic world through his work with the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Rockefeller Foundation at the International Rice Research Institute, the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, and the Agricultural Development Council.

Powered by Blackbaud
nonprofit software