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This paper discusses whether institutions matter for regional development and how to integrate them in regional development strategies. It finds that while institutions are crucial for economic development, generating an institution-based regional development strategy is likely to be undermined by the lack of definition of what are adequate, solid, and efficient institutions. Problems related to the measurement of institutions, to their space and time variability, to the difficulties in establishing the right mix of formal and informal institutions, and to the endogeneity between institutions and economic development make one-size-fits-all approaches to operationalizing institutions difficult. Development strategies specifically tailored to the conditions of different regional institutional environments across regions may yield greater returns.
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