The Economic Implications of Exaptation
39 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2003
Date Written: August 2002
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: Suggested Citation