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T.R. Lakshmanan and Ken J. Button

The eighteenth-century moral philosopher Adam Smith highlighted the importance of institutions in the economic development processes. The Nobel Prize-winning economist, Ronald Coase re-echoed this in terms of the role of institutions in establishing successful markets. Over the years, socio-economic analysts from Veblen, through Galbraith, to Williamson have concerned themselves with the nature of institutions and their continually changing role in the development process. Regional economic development has, however, received less attention in this. The aim of this chapter is to explore the nature of some of these formal and informal institutional networks, and to examine their roles in the regional growth process. The notion of an institution here is taken as that commonly found in the new institutional economics literature and thus it embodies informal institutions as well as legal institutions.