Epigenetic Economic Dynamics: The Adaptation of Business Routines and Geographic Spaces to Rapid Environmental Changes

24 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2013

Date Written: October 17, 2013


In this article, our aim is to study how firms and territories adapt to very fast qualitatively major changes in the environment. As opposed to the prevalent Darwinian approach in which the logic of the phenotype takes shape as a “slow and moderate” adaptation of social organisations to changes, our view focuses mainly on rapid adaptation to quickly changing environments.

The concept of Epigenetic Economic Dynamics (EED) is understood as the study of the epigenetic dynamics generated as a result of the adaptation of organizations to major changes in their respective environments. The concept shows its highest explanatory power in rapidly changing environments, which entail fast organizational moves and/or decisions.

The concept of EED was originally designed to explain the changes generated in Internet industry groups. As a result of the study, the part dealing with the results of economic systems, innovation, legal changes, regulations and morals induced by the epigenetic dynamics of organisations was configured and expanded.

Three related points of attention could be cited as where to focus analyses concerning organisations’ adaptation to changing environments: The mechanics of change “in routines”; the “necessary capabilities” that organisations require; and “the resulting dynamics” observed in them. The adaptation to changes in the environment in each case makes it possible to study these three approaches in a related manner.

The use of the concept of resilience in regional economics is increasingly widespread. In the resilience framework, adaptive capacity takes shape as a key structural component. In this paper we establish an analogy between firms and national or regional spaces so that the activities, resources, routines and paths observed in firms can determine their fast adaptation to rapid changes in the environment or, on the contrary, make this adaptation impossible.

Keywords: epigenetic economic dynamics, business routines, resilience, evolutionary economics, economic geography.

Suggested Citation

Gómez-Uranga, Mikel, Epigenetic Economic Dynamics: The Adaptation of Business Routines and Geographic Spaces to Rapid Environmental Changes (October 17, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2341542 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2341542

Mikel Gómez-Uranga (Contact Author)

University of the Basque Country ( email )


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