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Jonathan Feinstein

Jonathan S. Feinstein

John G. Searle Professor of Economics and Management

Jonathan Feinstein is interested in creativity and innovation, specifically the paths of development of creative individuals, including entrepreneurs, inventors, artists and scientists. His new book Creativity in Large-Scale Contexts (Stanford University Press) is being published in October 2023. He is also the author of The Nature of Creative Development (Stanford University Press, 2006). His class Creativity & Innovation was featured in the BusinessWeek Online article, "Creativity Comes to B-Schools" in the spring of 2006 and in Fast Company in 2014. He has been extensively cited and quoted in the media for his approach to creativity including in 2023 by the BBC in an article about Henri Matisse. He is also interested in creativity in education and the management of creativity.

Professor Feinstein’s current work focuses on models of creative engagement, centering on guidance, learning, opportunities, and paths of development. What do we choose to learn and explore as we develop our creative interests and passions? What opportunities arise, which projects do we pursue? His approach emphasizes the rich diverse patterns of development, unfolding over a few years or a lifetime. His work has roots in the classic principles of liberty and freedom of individual development, depicting the uniqueness of individuals in their creative development and potential. It also links economics with knowledge representation.

His paper “The Creative Development of Fields: Learning, Creativity, Paths, Implications” was published in the Journal of the Knowledge Economy in 2015, “Optimal Learning Patterns for Creativity Generation in a Field” was published in the American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings in 2011, and “Graduate Economics Teaching of Core Microeconomics: Diversity, Knowledge Clusters, and Job Placement” was published in the Journal of Economic Education in 2017. A current project explores how creative linkages are missing from the historical record, biasing our understanding of the creative process and the many influences involved.

In addition to his class on creativity & innovation, Professor Feinstein teaches core statistics and runs the math boot camp for incoming students. Professor Feinstein is an expert in the field of tax compliance and the analysis of audit and detection processes and has written with Professor Ed Kaplan on counter-terrorism. He served as Director of the Yale Center for Business and the Environment during 2009-14.


  • PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1987
  • BA, Stanford University, 1982


Diversity, Knowledge Clusters, and Job Placement: Graduate Economics Teaching of Core Microecoomics

J. Feinstein, A. Campbell, S. Hong, S. Qian, and T. Williams
Journal of Economic Education

The Creative Development of Fields: Learning, Creativity, Paths, Implications

J. Feinstein
Journal of the Knowledge Economy

Optimal Learning Patterns for Creativity Generation in a Field

J. Feinstein
American Economic Review Paper and Proceedings


Working Papers

Creative Linkages Dropped and Added

J. S. Feinstein, I.A. Acero, H. Shen, and A. Valero