The economic implications of exaptation

  • Dew N
  • Sarasvathy S
  • Venkataraman S
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Abstract

Accounts of economic change recognize that markets create selective pressures for the adaptation of technologies in the direction of customer needs and production efficiencies. However, non-adaptational bases for technological change are rarely highlighted, despite their pervasiveness in the history of technical and economic change. In this paper the concept of exaptation -a feature co-opted for its present role from some other origin - is proposed as a characteristic element of technological change, and an important mechanism by which new markets for products and services are created by entrepreneurs. Exaptation is a missing but central concept linking the evolution of technology with the entrepreneurial creation of new markets and the concept of Knightian uncertainty.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Adaptation
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Evolution
  • Exaptation
  • Knightian uncertainty

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Authors

  • Nicholas Dew

  • S. D. Sarasvathy

  • S. Venkataraman

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