One of the most influential studies in this context (Griliches, 1957) underlines the importance of inventive adaptation . Griliches shows that farmers in Iowa and Illinois had long adopted highyielding hybrid maize varieties suited to the Corn Belt states, while farmers outside the Corn Belt (e.g. in Alabama) continued to grow inferior traditional varieties. This had little to do with the farm ers’ capabilities. Instead, differences in the agro-ecological conditions between the Corn Belt and Alabama, together with the sensitivity of hybrid maize to these differences, resulted in the lack of adoption and the continuous technological distance between these maize-growing areas. As Griliches noted, “farmers outside the Corn Belt could not reap the benefits of the new technologies until the adaptive research had taken place to make the technologies available to the new environm ent”.