Group Title: Preliminary papers. The Rockefeller Foundation. April 29-30, 1975
Title: Integrated rural development programs
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 Material Information
Title: Integrated rural development programs a skeptical perspective
Series Title: Preliminary papers. The Rockefeller Foundation. April 29-30, 1975
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Conference on Social Science Research in Rural Development
Ruttan, Vertnon W.
Publisher: Farming Systems Support Project, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 1975
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00055294
Volume ID: VID00006
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text



Vernon W. Ruttan

Agricultural Development Council, Inc.

After more than a decade of relative neglect rural development has
again emerged near the top of the agenda in development policy. The

President of the World Bank has pledged his organization to direct its

resources toward improving the productivity and welfare of the rural poor

in the poorest countries The U.S. Congress has instructed the U.S.

aid agency to direct its effort toward "meeting the basic needs of the

poorest people in the developing countries."
In the developing world the new concern with rural development

represents, in part, a reaction against the distortions produced by'tRe

production-oriented.development efforts of the 1960's, which were in turn

a reaction against the economic failures of rural development programs
of an even earlier vintage. There are, however, major differences in the

rationale and orientation between the rural development programs being

initiated in many developing countries in the 1970's and those of the 1950's.

Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the Coloquium on "New
Concepts and Technologies in Third World Urbanization," University of
California (Los Angeles), May 17-18, 1974, and to a seminar at the Center
for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University, April 4, 1974. This draft
has benefited from the comments of the participants in the two seminars
and from comments by David Brown, Robert Evenson, Arthur Mosher, John
Mellor, Wilbur Maki, Richard Niehoff, Edward Soja, Robert Stevens.

- 2 -

In the 1950's the major concern was to induce rural people to substitute

rational economic calculation for the dictates of custom and tradition.

In the 1970's the concern is to achieve greater equity in the distribution

of the gains from economic growth between urban and rural areas and between

economic and social classes within rural areas.

These shifts in development thought have, however, had relatively

little impact on the lives of most rural people. Large elements of the

rural population have not shared at all in the impressive gains in agri-

cultural and industrial production that have been achieved in many

developing countries over the last several decades. In many areas the

welfare of substantial elements of the rural population, particularly

the landless, has declined both relatively and absolutely.3 Most of the

world's rural people continue to live in environments, and in economic

and political circumstances, which are intolerable to them and which should

be intolerable to the larger societies of which they are a part.

While welcoming the renewed concern with the welfare of rural pole

this inquiry was initiated with considerable skepticism regarding the

potential achievements of rural development programs. Indeed, it repre-

sents an attempt to disprove a long standing personal hypothesis to the

effect that rural development does not represent a viable project, program

or plan objective.4

It would be possible to devote a good deal of effort to the develop-

ment of a workable definition of rural development or of rural development

programs. Such discussions have a tendency to dicotomize around the issue

of whether the objective of rural development is to increase agricultural

production or to increase the well-being of people living in rural areas.

- 3 -

Activities directed primarily toward single objectives, such as a crop

production campaign, the organization of cooperative credit institutions,

the extension or improvement of rural roads, the control of malaria or

cholera, or the adoption of family planning, are not included under the

rural development program rubric even though their successful implementation

does contribute to the wealth or welfare of rural people. This definition

excludes, therefore, a number of widely publicized programs such as the

intensive agricultural districts program in India,5 and the Puebla Project

in Mexico.6 Rather than pursue this issue further in this paper, I refer

you to the several works of Arthur T. Mosher on this topic7 and to Table Al.

- 4 -

Rural Development Program Experience

The experience with attempts to implement rural development programs

in poor countries, and in the poorer regions of the developed countries,

does not inspire confidence in the capacity to achieve either the equity

or the productivity goals that have been set before us in the new policy

commitments and directives.

The aid supported community development efforts initiated in many

countries in the early 1950's (in India, Pakistan, and the Philippines,

for example) were by the mid-1960's in serious trouble.8 These programs

had been based oh the assumption that the mobilization and development

of community resources -- human and physical -- motivated by the multi-

purpose village worker and supplemented by credit and limited grants of

materials would lead to the modernization of rural society. Program

commitments to self-determination at the individual village level, where

resistance to change by the traditional leadership was most strongly

entrenched, tended to weaken the independence of the village level worker

and to emasculate the reform objectives of the program. Nevertheless,

the programs did result, in some areas, in highly visible symbols of

development -- roads, schools, water supply, community centers. The

community development programs were least successful in efforts designed

to expand the economic base needed to support rural development -- in

introducing changes in farming practices that were capable of increasing

agricultural productivity or in efforts to generate employment and income

through expansion of village industries. Neither the communities themselves

nor the village level worker had access to the materials in which high

- 5 -

productivity technologies were embodied or the knowledge or

authority to institute more efficient institutional performance.

In many countries the establishment of new communities has

been viewed as a more promising route to rural development than

the reform or modernization of old communities. This has been

particularly true in many Latin American countries where develop-

ment of new lands on the frontier has remained technically feasible.

It has also seemed a promising alternative in some areas of South-

east Asia -- in Malaysia, the outer islands of Indonesia, and the

Cagayan Valley and Mindanao in the Philippines. But the record

has typically been one of limited accomplishment or outright

failure. In his review of the experience of 24 tropical land

development projects in Latin America, Nelson concluded that, "few

spheres of economic development have a history of, or reputation

for, failure to match that of government-sponsored colonization in
humid tropical zones." He found that the probability of failures

was directly related to the level of government participation in

the organization and management of the project. Spontaneous colon-

ization was uniformly more successful than directed or semi-directed

colonization. The government was much more effective in the role

of organizing specific services or transportation facilities to

service spontaneous settlement. And access to markets, including

highway development, appeared to be the most pervasive factor

characterizing successful settlement projects (Table A2).1

- 6 -

The Comilla Rural Development Project

The examples cited above are typical of the experience which led in

the 1960's, to widespread disillusionment with the effectiveness of many

comprehensive regional and.rural development programs. Yet these, and

similar experiences, represent an incomplete, and perhaps even biased

perspective on the broadly based or "integrated" rural development efforts.

There are a-number of widely cited examples of successful rural or

community development projects which have made effective contributions

to the income and welfare of rural people.12 A number of these efforts

have been patterned at least in part on the experience of the village

development program of the Bangladesh (formerly Pakistan) Academy for

Rural Development.13

The Academy was established in 1959 as a training center for public
officials responsible for rural development programs with the primary

objective of helping the officials put to more productive use the

administrative and technical skills they had, and of aiding them in-the

acquisition of new skills needed in rural development.14 The program

evolved out of an effort by the Academy staff to understand rural

development processes in Comilla District, where the Academy is located,

and to utilize development activities in the Comilla villages as a

laboratory for the training activity. The program, involved three

elements: (a) development of a two-tiered, village and than, cooperative

system; (b) inducing cooperation among public agencies in labor intensive

resource development efforts -- particularly irrigation, drainage and roads;

and (c) development of the capacity of local government to coordinate and

direct the efforts of departments responsible for civil administration

and development (agriculture, water, health, education, and others).

- 7 -

The program was clearly successful in terms of the generation and

diffusion of technical and institutional change, and in improving the

welfare of rural villages in the Comilla Thana. The cooperatives proved

capable of generating modest savings and in partially replacing traditional

moneylenders as a source of credit. They also became effective channels

of technical information about rice production practices, health practices,
and farm and cooperative management between the villagers and the techni-

cians located at the Thana center. Many of the cooperatives also proved

capable of managing capital investments such as tube wells; handling the

distribution of inputs such as fertilizer, insecticides and seeds; and

of organizing services such as tractor plowing. Roads, irrigation, and

drainage were improved. In areas where such changes occurred the value

of farm output increased; the incomes of owner and tenant cultivators

grew; and land values rose in response to the greater productivity and

higher incomes. And the experience gained in the Comilla Thana did have

an impact on rural administration and development in a number of otber
Thanas in East Pakistan.

After independence the Government of Bangladesh announced that the

Comilla project would be utilized as the model for a national rural

development program that would extend to all 413 of the nation's Thanas.

Yet the content of the model that is being extended could be described

more accurately as a cooperatives development program than a rural

development program. And in 1974 the current Vice Chairman of the Academy

appeared to be committed to a model of rural or village development that

was considerably less intensive in its use of professional and technical

inputs than in the original Comilla Project.

- 8 -

A review of the Comilla, and a number of other rural development

projects, does lead to a modification of the hypothesis stated above.

It clearly has been possible in a number of situations where high levels

of professional inputs directed by dedicated or inspired leadership has

had access to external resources, to mobilize village level resources

to accelerate rates of development in specific rural communities.

Modification of the earlier hypothesis does, however, still leave

us with an unresolved puzzle. Why is it relatively easy to identify a

number of relatively successful small scale or pilot rural development

projects but so difficult to find examples of successful rural development

programs? Where does one go for the insight needed to understand the

reasons for the relative success of many rural development projects and

the failure of rural development programs?

There are three bodies of literature which represent useful components

of an attempt to develop a more comprehensive model designed to provide

insight into the morphology of rural development projects, programs, and

processes. These include (a) the urban-industrial impact hypothesis "

(b) the theory of induced technical change; (c) the new models of insti-

tutional change drawing on the literature on institution building and on

the economics of bureaucratic behavior. The urban-industrial impact

hypothesis helps to clarify the relationships between the development of

rural areas and the development of the total society of which rural areas

are a part. It is particularly useful in understanding the spacial

dimensions of rural development -- where rural development efforts are

likely to be most successful. The induced technical change provides a

guide to what must be done to gain access to efficient sources of economic

- 9 -

growth -- the new resources and incomes that are needed to sustain rural

development. The models of institutional change provide insight into

the possibilities and limits of how to organize rural institutions to

utilize the human and physical resources available to rural communities.

The Urban-Industrial Impact Hypothesis

The literature on the relationship between urban-industrial and rural

development has its origins in the early efforts of Von Thunen to determine

both the optimal intensity of cultivation and the optimal farm organization

or combination of farm enterprises. 15 In the United States the implica-

tions of urban-industrial development for agricultural development were

outlined by T. W. Schultz in the early 1950's.

The Schultz perspective can be stated in a series of three hypotheses:

"(1) Economic development occurs in a specific locational
matrix.... (2) These locational matrices are primarily industrial-
urban in composition.... (3) The existing economic organization
works best at or near the center of a particular matrix of
economic development and it also works best in those parts of
agriculture which are situated favorably in relation to the center."16

Schultz was particularly concerned with the development of a hypothesis

that would explain the failure of agricultural production and price policies

to remove the substantial regional disparities in the rate and level of

development of rural areas in the United States. The rationale for the

urban-industrial impact hypothesis was developed in terms of more efficient

functioning of factor and product markets in areas of rapid urban-industrial


Formulation of the urban-industrial impact hypothesis generated a

series of empirical studies designed to test both the validity of the

empirical generalizations and the factor and product market rationale.17

The effect of these studies has been the development of a model of rural

development in which the rural community is linked to the urban-industrial

- 10 -

economy through a series of market relationships:18 (a) The product

market through which the commodities produced in the rural sector are

transmitted to the urban sector and through which incomes are generated

in rural areas; (b) The markets for purchased inputs through which move and operating inputs, in which the new technologies are

embodied, that the rural economy obtains from the industrial sector;

(c) The-labor market through which labor is allocated between the rural

and urban sectors and among economic and household activities in each

sector; (d) The credit and land markets through which both land and

non-land assets are reallocated both between and within the urban and rural

sectors; (e) The market for consumer goods and services through which

rural families achieve access to or are excluded from the patterns of

consumption which characterize urban families. In developing countries

the markets for consumer goods and services represent an important source

of change in the transition from subsistence to market agriculture.19

It is clear that both the rate of growth of the urban economy and

the efficiency with which the intersector product and factor markets

transmit the sources and products of productivity growth among sectors

place important constraints on the possibilities of development in rural

areas. Rural development in France was inhibited for a century by the

stagnation in demand associated with slow growth of both population and

per capital income. Neither the product market nor the labor market

functioned as dynamic sources of rural development. In contrast the

availability of an expanding market for livestock products in the United

Kingdom was an important factor in Denmark's successful rural development

- 11 -

experience.2 The rapid economic growth in rural areas affected by

the new cereals-fertilizer technology, in Taiwan and the Indian Punjab,

reflects the capacity of the factor markets to deliver to rural areas

the high-payoff technical inputs suited to local factor endowments.

The urban-industrial impact hypothesis is also consistent with the

results reported by Nelson (Table A2) on the sources of success and

failure of colonization efforts in Latin America. It represents the

implicit theoretical foundation for a number of proposals to organize

rural development efforts around new towns, and urban-industrial growth

centers or growth poles.21
The only formal test of the urban-industrial impact hypothesis with

which I am familiar in a developing country is the intensive analysis

by Nicholls in the State of Sao Paulo (Brazil) for 1940-50.22 Prior to

1900 the growth of Sao Paulo was closely associated with the coffee boom

that extended from 1840 to 1940. After 1940 there were clear indications

that urban-industrial development was beginning to exert a differen'tTal

impact on labor productivity in agriculture by facilitating the flow of

capital into and the flow of labor out of agriculture. The urban-

industrial impact was limited, however, due to the locational impact of

resource based opportunities for development and the failure of the

Brazilian Government to invest in the research capacity and services

necessary to permit the agricultural sector in Sao Paulo to respond

effectively to growth in the urban-industrial sector.

The implications of the urban-industrial impact model are not

entirely congenial to the new rural development ideology. Development

- 12 -

processes in the contemporary rural community in a developing society

can not be isolated from development processes in the larger society.

Even the most intensive rural development efforts are unlikely to succeed

if rural development is viewed as an alternative rather than a complement

to urban-industrial developments. Yet, acceptance of an urban-industrial

impact or "growth-pole" strategy clearly implies differential rates of

development among areas. This may be consistent with efficient use of

development budgets. But it may also be accompanied by intensification

of social and political stress. Perhaps an even more serious problem

is that no one really knows how to make the growth poles grow!

- 13 -

Induced Technical Change23

The design of a successful rural development strategy involves a

unique combination of technical and institutional change. The ability of

rural areas to respond to the opportunities for economic growth generated

by local urban-industrial development, or by the expansion of national

and international markets, depends on the capacity for adaptive responses

on the part of cultural, political and economic institutions to realize

the growth potential opened up by new economic opportunities. And it

depends on the capacity to transfer, adapt or invent technical innovations

capable of generating substantial new income flows in response to the

new economic opportunities resulting from expansion of inter-sector

factor and product markets.

During the early stages of economic development the capacity of

rural areas to successfully respond to the opportunities for growth 'that

are potentially available to them depends critically on the achievement

of rapid technical change leading to productivity growth in agriculture.

Significant growth in agricultural productivity can rarely be realized

by the reallocation of resources within traditional agricultural systems.

The capacity to respond to growth opportunities becomes available primarily

through technical changes embodied in new and more efficient inputs --

better crop varieties, cheaper plant nutrients, and more efficient sources

of power -- capable of releasing the constraints on growth of agricultural


A critical limitation on the capacity of rural areas in most

- 14 -

developing countries, and in many of the backward rural areas in the

highly developed countries, is the location-specific character of much

of agricultural technology. This limits the gains that can be realized

by the simple transfer of agricultural technology from areas of high to

areas of low productivity. A necessary condition for sustained pro-

ductivity growth in agriculture is the institutionalization of experiment

station capacity capable of producing a continuous stream of ecologically

adapted and economically efficient technology -- consistent with resource

endowments and relative factor prices -- for each commodity of economic

significance in each agricultural region.

The evidence is relatively clear that alternative paths of technical

change in agriculture can be made available (Figure A3). Technology can

be developed to facilitate the substitution of relatively abundant (hence

cheap) factors for relatively scarce (hence expensive) factors. The

constraints imposed on agricultural development by an inelastic supply

of land may be offset by advances in biological or biological and chemical

technology (as in Japan). The constraints imposed by an inelastic supply

of labor may be offset by advances in mechanical technology (as in the

United States).

Failure to invest in the experiment station capacity necessary to

effectively loosen the constraints imposed by resource endowments can

effectively limit a region's capacity to respond to new economic oppor-

tunities. The effect of such failure during the initial stages of

development is that the agricultural sector fails to become a source of

the new income streams needed to generate growth in rural communities

- 15 -

and in the regional economy. The effect of such failure during the

later stages of development is a widening gap between economic well-being

among rural areas and between urban and rural areas. The result is

the emergence of stranded populations -- people left behind -- in the

Appalachias, the Mezzogiorono, Northeast Brazil, the Deccan Plateau,
and other lagging regions.

- 16 -

Models of Institutional Innovation

The stress in the last two sections on the role of inter-sector

factor and product markets, and the role of technical change induced

by market forces which reflect regional resource endowments, should

not be taken to imply that rural development can be left to an

"invisible hand" that directs either technical or institutional change

along an "efficient path".

Improvements in the welfare of rural people in poor countries,

and in poor regions, will require institutional innovations which

effectively link urban and rural areas through a series of non-market,

as well as market, relationships. These non-market relationships

focus primarily on (a) the investment in rural people and in the

amenities that are necessary to improve both productivity and the

quality of life in poor communities -- particularly in the areas of

education and health, and (b) modifications in the institutional

infrastructure necessary to enable rural people to mobilize both the

economic and political resources that are potentially available to


The returns to investment in the capacity of rural people is shaped

by development.24 Almost all rural people in poor countries enter the

- 17 -

development process with very little formal schooling. Most are

illiterate. As development proceeds the capacity to respond to more

efficient new inputs in production and to better possibilities in

consumption increases the value of the abilities acquired from schooling.

As the economic and social environment becomes more complex the con-

tribution of education to the capacity to decode and interpret new

technical and economic information and to make allocative decisions in

both production and consumption activities rises. Education also affects

the ability to utilize the information channeled through the labor market --

to decide whether to migrate or remain in the rural community.

The institutional organization and the educational and health

standards employed in developing countries have typically been borrowed

from countries with quite different human resource endowments and economic

opportunities. The effect has been the adoption of educational and health

systems characterized by relatively high costs to both the individual

and society. In many countries the result is to impose personal and

fiscal burdens that are beyond the capacity of the family, the community,

or the state. There is a strong need for institutional innovations that

sharply.increase the efficiency of resources devoted to improvements in

the quality of the human agent -- in schooling and health.25

There is a similar need for institutional innovations in the

efficiency of the markets through which rural people obtain access to

credit, to land, and to the material inputs in which new technologies are

embodied. There has been much discussion in the development literature

on biases and imperfections in factor and product markets -- on middleman

- 18 -

monopoly and monopsony.26 The markets through which political resources

are brought to bear to influence institutional performance in rural areas

are often even more imperfect -- more biased against rural people -- than

the credit and product markets. The lack of access by the poor majority

in rural communities to the instruments of local government that would

enable them to provide either economic or political rewards for effective

performance -- by the extension, irrigation, education and health bureau-

cracies -- reduces the incentive for efficient bureaucratic performance.

With few exceptions the literature on institutional change does not

seem particularly useful as a guide to the design of institutional in-

novations which are capable of sharply increasing the returns to investment

in institutional change. One body of literature that does seem to me

most helpful is that on "institution building." This literature has

evolved out of an effort, primarilyin the field of public administration,

to provide technical assistance agencies with an effective methodology for

external intervention to induce more'effective institutional performance.27

A major inference from this literature is that it has been easier to Insti-

tutionalize an organization whose operations are primarily concerned with

the use of a well-developed methodology or technology than an organization

that is not technology-centered. Where relatively "closed system" tech-

nologies are available, the behavior they require for successful introduction

and management are particular to their operations -- and not to the socio-

cultural system at large. The Gezira Scheme, built around the technologies

of irrigation and cotton production, represents an example. Where no

closed system technology is available effective institutionalization has

been exceedingly difficult to achieve.

- 19 -

A basic weakness of the integrated rural development approach is

that policy or program objectives are adopted for which no readily

available closed system technology or program methodologies are available.

Integrated rural development can be described, perhaps not too inaccurately,

as an ideology in search of a methodology or a technology.28

An additional body of literature on which it is useful to draw in

attempting to understand the process of institutional innovation is the

emerging literature in political science and in economics on bureaucratic

behavior. This involves an attempt to extend the micro-economic theory

of the firm and of the consumer (a) to model the relationships between

the public or semi-public organization (or bureau) and its environment,

and (b) to analyze the consequences of these relationships for public

choice and for the generation of budgets and the supply of bureaucratic

services or other output. The effect has been the development of an

"economic" or "rational" theory of bureaucratic behavior as an alterna-
tive to an "organic" or "altruistic" model.2

A major implication of the formal models developed thus far is that,

given the "markets" in which they operate, bureaus will be successful

in capturing a relatively large share of the economic gains generated

by their activities.30 This ability of the bureaucracy to capture a

relatively high share of the gains generated by their activity, in the

form of staff expansion or official corruption may be relatively low

where the demand for their services is relatively elastic or relatively

high where the demand for their services is relatively inelastic.31

- 20 -

A second set of inferences deals with the mobilization of group

behavior. Olson, in particular, has shown that in the "public goods"

market there are severe constraints on the capacity to mobilize collective
action.32 A major implication of this second line of investigation is

the importance of a proliferation of voluntary organization -- the

sources of demand for public services -- around activities which generate

private gains. It is further argued that the performance of the market

for public services is improved by decentralization on the supply side.

A clear implication of this literature is that the efficient delivery
of bureaucratic services to rural communities must depend on effective

organization at the community level. Rural communities must be sufficiently

well organi-zed to interact effectively with the delivery agencies in the

establishment of priorities. And they must be able to mobilize sufficient

political resources to be able to provide incentives for efficient bureau-

cratic performance or innovation. Yet a major implication of both OTlon's
theoretical analysis and the history of present movements is that such

organization is extremely difficult to achieve.33'34

A less obvious implication of the literature on institutional innova-

tion, but one that is consistent with my own experience, is that efficiency

in the'delivery of bureaucratic services will depend on innovations which

enable the market and non-market systems to utilize relatively low quality
human resources. More specifically --neither rich nor poor societies can

afford to have relatively affluent technicians provide services for poor
people.35 Few societies have yet been able to design systems that enable
them to insist that highly educated people provide services to people with

- 21 -

sharply lower levels of education. And poor people are generally

reluctant to seek services when differences in class and income are

excessive. The sharp disparity in educational opportunities available

to girls and the limited use of women in agricultural programs and

rural services represents a particularly heavy burden on rural

development in many countries.36

- 22 -


The insights opened up by the urban-industrial impact hypothesis,

the theory of induced technical change, and the models of institutional

innovation do contribute to a modest advance in both the capacity (a)

to understand the rural development program failures and the rural de-

velopment project successes outlined earlier in this paper, and (b) to

design more successful rural development programs in the future. Exami-

nation of contemporary rural development experience within the framework

of these three bodies of literature leads to a number of fundamental

conclusions regarding the factors which condition the success of rural

development efforts.

The success of many of the rural development pilot projects has

been due to the relative intensity of the human resources devoted to

organization, management, and technical assistance.37 When an attempt

was made to generalize the pilot project as the model for a national

or regional rural development program the intensity of human resource

input could not be maintained. Furthermore, access to the higher

decision making levels of government and the administrative freedom to

tailor programs precisely to local natural and human resource endowments

and capacities and to priority development problems that is often avail-

able to directors of pilot projects is frequently sacrificed to admin-

istrative convenience when the projects are generalized in the form of

provincial or national programs. Highly centralized administration of

national programs makes it difficult to carry out the experiments with

program content and delivery methods that are essential if rural develop-

ment programs are to meet the diverse needs of rural areas.38

There is a useful analogy with earlier attempts with agricultural.

development programs designed to increase crop yields by applying higher

- 23 -

levels of fertilizer inputs to traditional crop varieties. Under high

level of management it was possible to obtain modest yield increases.

But the rate of return that the average farmer could achieve was low

and acceptance of technical change was slow. When new varieties cha-

racterized by steeper (i.e., more efficient) response curves became

available the rate of return from "improved practices" rose dramatically

and extension workers no longer had to try to persuade farmers to use

fertilizer. It seems apparent that the gains from even the pilot

"integrated" rural development projects will remain low until technical

and institutional innovations that permit much greater efficiency in the

use of the human resources devoted to such programs become available.

A second inference that emerges from this review is that the

resources devoted to integrating or coordinating the development and

management of physical and institutional infrastructures are likely to

have a relatively low return. The absence of any well-defined rural Or

community development technologies around which professional capacity

or resources can be organized or institutionalized casts considerable

doubt on the viability of integrated rural development efforts. However,

it is possible to organize efforts which expand the resources available to

rural people and which contribute to the efficiency of production and

consumption activities in rural areas. It is possible to provide farmers

with more productive seeds and fertilizers. It is possible to improve

transportation and communication between rural and urban areas. It is

possible to organize schooling in such a way that it.contributes to the

efficiency of rural people as both producers and consumers. It is

- 24 -

possible to train even poorly educated health and extension workers the

skills that enable them to deliver productive technologies and services

to rural areas. And it is possible to make these services available by

locating them in the communities where rural people live and work.

A third factor which conditions the success of rural development

efforts is that by and large the opportunities for village development

depend to a substantial degree on the availability of more efficient

technologies and more efficient institutions. These resources become

available to rural communities through intersector factor and product

markets and through the development of bureaucratic resources at the

national and regional level. The potential gains that can be achieved

in the absence of expanding commodity markets and more efficient factor

markets are limited. The ability of rural communities to respond to

such opportunities when they do become available depends on technical

and institutional innovations which also become available from sources

outside the community. Even the capacity to organize the political

resources necessary to achieve access to or enforce efficiency in the-

delivery of bureaucratic resources typically depends on reforms leading

to reasonable equity in the distribution of economic and political re-

sources and to the availability of social and legal instruments which

permit communities to effectively organize their economic and political

resources toward common objectives. Much of the emphasis that has been

placed on the priority of land reform for the success of rural develop-

ment efforts is based on the perception that great disparity in the

distribution of economic and political resources makes it extremely

difficult to design rural development program activities which can

command a broad basis of community support or that can benefit one

social class or economic interest without weakening or bypassing others.

- 25 -

This attempt to interpret recent development experience has led to

some modification of my earlier skepticism with respect to the value of

rural development ideology as an integrative framework for rural de-

velopment programs. The review also leads me to a series of five

generalizations with respect to program ideology and design which are

essential to the viability of any large scale rural development effort:

First, rural development program activities must be organized around

activities and services that have relatively well-defined technologies

or methodologies and objectives. It is important to rural communities

that such activities and services be simultaneously available, but not

necessarily administratively integrated.39

Second, rural development program activities must be organized to

utilize the relatively low quality (and inexperienced) human resource

endowments that are available in rural areas. They must be extensive

rather than intensive in their use of high-cost human capital, at both

the planning and implementation stages.

Third, effective implementation of rural development programs is-

to a substantial degree, dependent on the development of the institu-

tional capacity to mobilize the limited political and economic resources

available to the disadvantaged in rural communities. In societies in

which rural administration is organized with a strong control orientation

and in which economic policies are primarily directed toward the extrac-

tion of a surplus from rural areas, the political and economic conditions

necessary for rural development will rarely be met.

Fourth, the problem of welfare in the rural areas of most developing

countries remains more a problem of the level of output per person than

of distribution. The search for new sources of income growth must continue

to be sought in both technical and institutional change.

Finally, the structural characteristics of most rural communities,

and of the societies of which they are a part, will continue to prevent

them from obtaining access to many of the development opportunities

which are potentially available. Rural development programs will rarely

be able to mobilize the political and economic resources necessary for

massive structural reform. We can expect that the development of rural

areas will continue to be characterized by unequal rates of development

between rural and urban areas, among rural areas, and among classes

within rural areas.

* *-

- 27 -

Table Al.

Elements in Various Integrated Projects of Agricultural or Rural Development

Overall Agricultural

I Research

II Producing or Importing.
Farm Inputs

Rural Agri-Support

IV Production Incentives

V Land Development

VI Training Agricultural

Project Activities

1. Markets for Farm Products
2. Retail Outlets for Farm Inputs
3. Production Credit
4. Extension Education
5. Local Verification Trials
6. Farm-to-Market Roads


7. Rural Industries
8. Rural Public Works
9. Community Development
Construction Projects
10. Group Activities-Recreation-
al. Cultural
11. Home Life Improvement
Extension Services
12. Health Facilities
13. Family Planning Programs
14. Schools
15. Local Government
16. Religious Activities

Types of Integrated

1. Agricultural development

2. Rural development projects
with an agricultural com-
ponent (selections from
among B 1-13)

3. Rural development projects
without an agricultural com-
ponent (selections from
among B 7-13)

Source: A. T. Mosher, "Projects of Integrated Rural Development."
The Agricultural Development Council, Inc., 630 Fifth Avenue,
New York, N.Y. 10020, December 1972. p3.

- 28 -

Table A2.

ld.Iclois Allei ting P'rl torumiiit ver I I i .i| I .Land I)evelopimenc

Sinie l de(vell entllllnl andi ni:tIr .l, iht.
pe rlornlce imnpa;rt
Pioneer consolidationn (;rowlh
I:elinents influencing Suc- Neu- Vail- Suc- Nell- Fail- Suc- Neii I a1l
i'jeccl performance cess trial ure ccss trial ure cess trial ire
Settlement organization
I)irc led X* not applicable not applicahle
Srenidirclcted not applicable X not appllile
Spl)niIillelinis X* X* X*

Existence of a national plan
Existence of resource
Existence of project
feasibility study
Application of colonist
recruitment procedures
Forest industry
Rural development activities
Marketing services
Cooperative promotion
Water supply
Community development
-large-scale commercial
-small holdings
Promotion of urban centers
(infrastructure and concen-
tration of services, industry,
and population)
Farm size
Establishment of standard
minimum unit (10-15 ha)
Subdivision in variable sizes
Reorganization and consoli-
dation of minifundia
Balanced development
"Package" projects

Simultaneous rural-urban
Association of agro-
industry and rural
Association of commercial
enterprises and small




X not appli ;hahl


not applicable

X* not applicable not applicable

X* X* X*

not applicable X* X*


*Higl impact on success or failure.

Source: Michael Nelson, The Development of Tropical Lands:
Policy Issues in Latin America (The Johns Hopkins
University Press, Baltimore, 1973). p270-271.


- 29 -

Table A3


1935 1965 DENMARK
9 1965
1945 / 1965
U.K 1965

1880 /'1945

1870 U.S.A.

1945 J 1965
1880 1956

50 100 200

5 10

Historical growth paths of agriculture development in the
United States, Japan and Germany, 1880-1965, and Denmark,
France, and the United Kingdom, 1870-1965, and Canada, 1941-65.

2.0 L


0.5 L

I a I -

! !

! I ,

- 30 -


1. Robert S. McNamara, "Address to the Board of Governors" (Inter-

national Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Washington,

September 1973). During 1974 the IBRD conducted a major staff

review of bank policies on rural development. The result of

the study are summarized in Rural Development: Sector Policy

Paper (Washington: International Bank for Reconstruction and

Development, February 1975).

2. U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Mutual Development and

Cooperation Act of 1973 (Washington: U.S. Government Printing

Office, July 20, 1973), p. 15.

3. For an impressive documentation of the long-term failure of rural

population to share in the gains from economic growth in Indonesia

see Clifford Geertz, Agricultural Involution: The Process of

Ecological Change in Indonesia (Berkeley: University of California

Press, 1963). For more recent evidence see William L. Collier,

Gunawon Wiradi and Woentoro, "Recent Changes in Rice Harvesting

Methods," Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, Vol. IX, No. 2

(July 1973), pp. 36-46; Sajogyo, Modernization Without Development

in Rural Java, Bogor Agricultural University (mimeo), 1973.

4. V. W. Ruttan and J. K. McDermott, "How Effective is the Rural

Development Program," Farm Policy Forum (Iowa State University

Press, 1958), pp. 25-31; L. T. Wallace and V. W. Ruttan, "The

Role of the Community as a Factor in Industrial Location," Papers

and Proceedings of the Regional Science Association. Vol. 7, 1961,

- 31 -

pp. 133-142; .V. W. Ruttan and L. T. Wallace, "The Effectiveness

of Location Incentives on Local Economic Development," Journal

of Farm Economics, Vol. 44 (November 1962), pp. 968-978.

5. Dorris D. Brown, Agricultural Development in India's Districts

(Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1971); Norman K. Nicholson,

"Rural Development Policy in India: Elite Differentiation and the

Decision-Making Process," Department of Political Science,

Northern Illinois University, Dekalb (Paper presented to Inter-

national Political Science Association, August 1973).

6. Richard Brunner, The Puebla Project (The Agricultural Development

Council, 630 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y., June 1970).

7. A. T. Mosher, "Projects of Integrated Rural Development," (The

Agricultural Development Council, 630 Fifth Avenue, New York,

N.Y., December 1972). See also A. T. Mosher, Varieties of

Extension Education and Community Development (Ithaca, N.Y.:

Cornell University, New York State College of Agriculture, -

Cooperative Extension Publication No. 2, 1958); A. T. Mosher,

Creating a Progressive Rural Structure (The Agricultural De-

velopment Council, 630 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y., 1969);

A. T. Mosher, To Create a Modern Agriculture (The Agricultural

Development Council, 630 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y., 1971).

8. For the background on the origins of community development in India

see Albert Mayer, McKim Marriott and Richard L. Park, Pilot

Project, India (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1959).

- 32 -

For evaluations of India's community development experience

see John P. Lewis, quiet Crisis in India (Washington, The

Brookings Institution, 1962), pp. 155-162; John W. Mellor,

Thomas F. Weaver, Uma J. Lele and Sheldon R. Simon, Developing

Rural India: Plan and Practice (Ithaca: Cornell University Press,

1968), pp. 33-41, 75-81; Guy Hunter, The Administration of

Agricultural Development: Lessons from India (London, Oxford

University Press, 1970); Edgar Owens and Robert Shaw, Development

Reconsidered (Lexington, Mass.: D. C. Heath, 1972), pp. 21-25..

9. The Gezira Sudan represents a major exception to the

generally disappointing rural development program experience.

During the initial stages of the scheme, economic and technical

objectives were given a high priority relative to other objectives.

In spite of its success the Gezira Scheme has not, perhaps

because of its colonialist origins, received wide attention as

a model for other rural development efforts. For an excellent

discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the Gezira Scheme

see Arthur Gaitskell, Gezira: A Story of Development in the

Sudan (London: Faber and Faber, 1959).

10. Michael Nelson, The Development of Tropical Lands: Policy Issues

in Latin America (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press,

1973), p. 265.

11. These same generalizations also seem valid for the location of new

industrial estates. See Louis Lefeber and Mrinal Datta-Chaudhuri,

Regional Development: Experience and Prospects in South and

Southeast Asia (Paris: Mouton, 1971), pp. 16, 172-174, 175-184.

- 33 -

12. There are several useful annotated bibliographies and literature

reviews on rural development: United Nations Department of

Economic and Social Affairs, Popular Participation in Development:

Emerging Trends in Community Development (New York: United Nations,

1971); Tekola Dejene and Scott E. Smith, Experience in Rural
Development (Washington: American Council on Education, Overseas

Liaison Committee, August 1973).

13. See, for example, John M. Cohen, "Rural Change in Ethiopia: The

Chilalo Agricultural Development Unit," Economic Development

and Cultural Change, Vol. 22 (July 1974), pp. 580-614.
14. For the history of the Comilla Project see Arthur F. Raper, Rural

Development in Action (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1970);

M. Nural Haq, Village Development in Bangladesh (Bangladesh
Academy for Rural Development, Comilla, 1973); Akhter Hameed
Khan, "The Comilla Projects.-- A Personel Account," International

Development Review, Vol. 14, No. 3 (1974), pp. 2-7; Robert.D.

Stevens, "Three Rural Development Models for Small-Farm Agri-

cultural Areas in Low Income Nations," The Journal of Developing

Areas, Vol. 8, No. 3 (April 1974), pp. 409-420.
15. See Joosep Nou, Studies in the Development of Agricultural Economics

in Europe (Uppsala: Almquist and Wiksells, 1967), pp. 184-230,

for a history of the impact of Von Thunen's work on economic

thought. Also, H. D. Dickson, "Von Thunen's Economics,"

Economic Journal, Vol. 79 (December 1969), pp. 894, 902.

- 34 -

16. T. W. Schultz, "A Framework for Land Economics -- The Long View,"

Journal of Farm Economics, Vol. 33 (May 1951), pp. 204-215;

T. W. Schultz, The Economic Organization of Agriculture (New

York: McGraw-Hill, 1953), p. 147.

17. Vernon W. Ruttan, "The Impact of Urban-Industrial Development on

Agriculture in the Tennessee Valley and the Southeast," Journal

of Farm Economics, Vol. 37 (February 1955), pp. 38-56; Anthony

M. Tang, Economic Development in Southern Piedmont, 1860-1950:

Its Impact on Agriculture (Chapel Hill: University of North

Carolina Press, 1958); William H. Nicholls, "Industrialization,

Factor Markets, and Agricultural Development," Journal of

Political Economy, Vol. 69 (August 1961), pp. 319-340; Dale E.

Hathaway, J. Allen Beegle and W. Keith Bryant, People of Rural

America, 1960 Census Monograph (Washington: U.S. Government

Printing Office, 1968); Martin T. Katzman, "The Von Thuenen

Paradigm, the Industrial-Urban Hypothesis, and the Spatial

Structure of Agriculture," American Journal of Agricultural

Economics, Vol. 56, No. 4 (November 1974).

18. Vernon W. Ruttan, "Agricultural Policy in an Affluent Society,"

Journal of Farm Economics, Vol. 48 (December 1966), pp. 1110-1120.

19. Stephen Hymer and Stephen Resnick, "A Model of an Agrarian Economy

with Non-Agricultural Activities," American Economic Review,

Vol. 59 (September 1969), pp. 493-506.

- 35 -

20. William W. Wade, Institutional Determinants of Technical Change and

Agricultural Productivity Growth: Denmark, France and Great Britain,

1870-1965 (Ph.D. Thesis, Graduate School, University of Minnesota,


21. See, for example, S. M. Shah, "Growth Center as a Strategy for Rural

Development: India Experience," Economic Development and Cultural

Change, Vol. 22 (January 1974), pp. 215-228; Frank C. Miller,

Old Villages and a New Town: Industrialization in Mexico (Cummings

Publishing Company, Menlo Park, California, 1973); Christopher

Salter, Chinese Experiments in Urban Space: The Quest for an

Agrapolitan China, paper presented to the Colloquium on "New

Concepts and Technologies in Third World Urbanization," University

of California (Los Angeles), May 17-18, 1974; Frank G. Mittelbach,

New Towns: Prospects for Innovation, paper presented to the

Colloquium on "New Concepts and Technologies in Third World

Urbanization," University of California (Los Angeles), May 17-18,


22. William H. Nicholls, "The Transformation of Agriculture in a Semi-

Industrialized Country: The Case of Brazil," The Role of Agri-

culture in Economic Development, ed. Erik Thorbecke (New York:

Columbia University Press, 1969), pp. 311-378. See also G.

Edward Schuh, "Comment," Ibid, pp. 379-385.

23. For an elaboration of the "induced technical change" model see Hayami

and Ruttan, Agricultural Development: An International Perspective

.(Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1971).

- 36 -

24. Theodore W. Schultz, "The Education of Farm-People: An Economic

Perspective," (Department of Economics, University of Chicago

[mimeo], 1973); Arnold C. Harberger, "Investment in Men Versus

Investment in Machines, The Case of India" in C. Arnold Anderson

and Mary Jean Bowman, eds., Education and Economic Development

(Chicago: Aldine Publishing Company, 1965), pp. 4-50.

25. For two studies which explore the possibility of achieving greater

efficiency in the organization and delivery of education and

health services see Philip H. Coombs and Manzoor Ahmed, Attacking

Rural Poverty: How Nonformal Education Can Help (Baltimore: The

Johns Hopkins University Press, 1974); John Bryant, Health and

the Developing World (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1969).

26. C. R. Wharton, Jr., "Marketing, Merchandising and Moneylending: A

Note on Middleman Monopsony in Malaysia," Malayan Economic Review,

Vol. 7 (October 1962), pp. 24-44; Kurt R. Anschel, Russell H.

Brannon, and Eldon D. Smith, eds., Agricultural Cooperatives 7

and Markets in Developing Countries (New York: Praeger, 1969).

27. William J. Siffin, "The Institution Building Perspective: Properties

Problems and Promise," Institution Building: A Model of Applied

Social Change, D. Woods Thomas, et al. (eds) (Cambridge: Schenkman,

1972), pp. 113-148. For an annotated bibliography of the insti-

tution building literature see Melvin G. Blase, Institution

Building: A Source Book (Michigan State University, East Lansing:

Midwest Universities Consortium for International Activities, Inc.,


- 37 -

28. The ideology of rural development has been described by Dr. Y. C.

James L. Yen in terms of four goals of rural reconstruction:

(a) livelihood, (b) education, (c) health, and (d) group activities.

Y. C. James Yen, "International Institute of Rural Reconstruction

and Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement," in Harry Bayard

Price, ed., Rural Reconstruction and Development (New York: Praeger,

1967), pp. 19-32; For an examination of the interplay between

ideology and technology in rural development see David J. Vail,
"Technology for Ujamaa Village Development in Tanzania," (Program

in East African Studies, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public

Affairs, Syracuse University, forthcoming, 1975).

29. The seminal work in this body of literature is Anthony Downs, An

Economic Theory of Democracy (New York: Harper, 1957), pp. 3-35.

See also James M. Buchanan and Gordon Tullock, The Calculus of

Consent (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1962); Mancur

Olson, Jr., The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the

Theory of Groups (New York: Schocken Books, 1968); Anthony Downs,

Inside Bureaucracy (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1966); William

A. Niskanen, Jr., Bureaucracy and Representative Government (Chicago

Aldine-Atherton, 1971).

30. William A. Niskanen, "The Peculiar Economics of Bureaucracy,"

American Economic Review, Vol. 58 (May 1968), pp. 293-305.

31. For a test of the Niskanen model see W. Keith Bryant, "An Analysis of

the Market for Food Stamps," American Journal of Agricultural

Economics. Vol. 54 (May 1972), pp. 305-325; "An Analysis of the

Market for Food Stamps: Correction and Extension," American

Journal of Agricultural Economics, Vol. 54 (November 1972) pp. 689-693.

- 38 -

32. Mancur Olson, Jr., The Logic of Collective Action, P. 48. See

also James M. Buchanan and Gordon Tullock, The Calculus of

Consent, pp. 43-62.

33. Solon Barraclough, "Farmers Organizations in Planning and Implementing

Rural Development" in Raanon Weitz, Rural Development in a Chang-

ing World (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1971), pp. 364-390.

34. John F. Speight, "Community Development Theory and Practice: A

Machiavellian Perspective" Rural Sociology, Vol. 38, No. 4

(Winter 1974), pp. 477-490. The difficulties of achieving

effective organization for change at the local level led Speight

to conclude that "directed change must come from outside the

community" (p. 479).

35. Christopher L. Salter, "Chinese Experiments in Urban Space," points

out that the efficiency in the use of low quality human resources

has represented a major feature of rural development in China.

He also points to the unique capacity of the Chinese system to

achieve decentralization in administration under conditions of

highly centralized program goals and to the success in estab-

lishing new "agrapolitan" growth centers in the interior as

important achievements of Chinese rural development.

36. Ester Boserup, Woman's Role in Economic Development (New York: St.

Martins Press; London:.George Allen and Unwin, 1970).

37. I am indebted to conversations with Uma Lele and John Mellor for turning

my attention to the issue of intensity of the human resource input

in rural development. This perspective is outlined more fully in

Uma Lele, African Rural Development Study (Washington: IBRD,


- 39 -

38. Arthur T. Mosher, "Administrative Experimentation as a 'Way of

Life' for Development Projects," International Development

Review, Vol. 9, No. 2 (June 1967), pp. 39-41; Inayatullah, "An

Analysis of the Emergence of a Rural Development Innovation in

Comilla, Bangladesh," (Kuala Lumpur: Asian Centre for Development

Administration, February 1975). For a useful case study of the

effect of administrative rigidity on program development see

Orlin J. Scoville, "Rural Development in Thailand: The ARD Program,"

The Journal of Developing Areas, Vol 9, No. 1 (October 1974),

pp. 53-68.

39. Shoaib Sultan Khan, "Daudzai Project: A Case Study" (Peshawar:

Pakistan Academy for Rural Development, January 1975), pp. 16-18;

A. T. Mosher, 1972, p. 2.

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