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Constructing Corridors to Economic Primitives: Entrepreneurial Opportunities as Demand-side Artifacts


Saras Sarasvathy

The idea is to model entrepreneurial opportunities as pathways to the edifice of economic primitives such as preferences, demand functions, production functions, and so on — things that economic theory typically takes as “given”. This means that entrepreneurial endeavors can start in non-economic spheres and entrepreneurs construct “corridors” as it were from these pre-economic realities to economic artifacts such as new firms, new markets, and even new utility functions. The essay draws upon the open-universe philosophy of pragmatism and the more concrete “social science” arguments of Simon’s Sciences of the artificial. I connect the two threads of arguments to specific examples and current empirical work in entrepreneurship. I also examine implications for entrepreneurship research and economic development policy.

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