Journal of Evolutionary Economics

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 69–84 | Cite as

The economic implications of exaptation

Article

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.

Keywords:

Exaptation Evolution Adaptation Entrepreneurship Knightian uncertainty 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin/Heidelberg 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas Dew
    • 1
  • S. D. Sarasvathy
    • 2
  • S. Venkataraman
    • 3
  1. 1.Graduate School of Business and Public PolicyNaval Postgraduate SchoolMontereyUSA
  2. 2.R.H. Smith School of BusinessUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  3. 3.Darden Graduate School of Business AdministrationUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA

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