The Economic Implications of Exaptation

39 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2003

See all articles by Nicholas Dew

Nicholas Dew

Naval Postgraduate School

Saras D. Sarasvathy

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

S. Venkataraman

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Date Written: August 2002

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 shown to be 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, Entrepreneurship, Knightian Uncertainty, New Markets

JEL Classification: O3, M13, D8, D52

Suggested Citation

Dew, Nicholas and Sarasvathy, Saras D. and Venkatarman, Sankaran, The Economic Implications of Exaptation (August 2002). Darden Business School Working Paper No. 02-08, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=348060 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.348060

Nicholas Dew (Contact Author)

Naval Postgraduate School ( email )

1522 Cunningham Road
Monterey, CA 93943-5201
United States

Saras D. Sarasvathy

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.effectuation.org

Sankaran Venkatarman

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
804-924-6892 (Phone)
804-243-5023 (Fax)

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