This study describes the patterns of collaboration among economic development organizations (EDOs) in eastern Kentucky. Economic development organizations work to improve the economic conditions of their respective locales. They operate in a region facing many historical barriers to economic sustainability, and where resource scarcity is the norm. Given this distressed context, a deeper understanding of how these organizations work together provides valuable insight into practices that promote or discourage goal attainment. Employing a social network perspective, we examine the patterns of collaboration between ninety-eight EDOs currently operating in the region. Data were collected through in-depth interviews with EDO leaders and via an online survey. In this paper, we review the relevant literature and our methodology, identify the population of such organizations, describe their characteristics, and illustrate the various ways in which they collaborate. Our findings reveal that although EDOs share a common mission to promote local economic development, they vary widely in their service offerings and geographic scope, and only leverage about 8 percent of their networking potential.

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