Professor Feinstein is working on a new creativity manuscript focusing on the key "intermediate" stepping stones of creative journeys.  Steps that bridge from large ideals, principles, questions, challenges, and themes, to define an ``intermediate''  creative focus.  This kind of focus is often highly original. It is central in guiding people in their exploration and sparking ideas and projects, leading ultimately  to creative products.  This approach can help individuals better navigate their creative development.  It also helps us appreciate the "subterranean links" of culture that work through broader creative thinking and are often invisible in conventional accounts that focus on the final creative step and view creativity as a short-term phenomenon.


 Watch Professor Feinstein's talk "Creativity & Complexity" at IMCIC in March 2015 here: .  He discusses individual creative development, and  modeling the creative development of fields. 


Read Professor Feinstein's blog on Creative Development for the Tory Burch Foundation:




Jonathan Feinstein studies creativity, specifically creative development. While it is common to focus on the moment of inspiration as the essence of creativity, he takes a more encompassing and organic approach, studying how creativity and innovation are generated through an unfolding process of development. His work focuses on understanding how an individual or team forms a creative focus, whether question or theme, then explores their focus, gathering elements from diverse sources, ultimately triggering new creative connections and insights. He is the author of The Nature of Creative Development which describes the process of creative development with many examples drawn from a wide range of fields. His work extends from individual creativity to the study of the development of fields. In his view many creative links go unrecognized and unappreciated:  In the winding path of a person's creative development there are many influences that are not evident in that person's ultimate creative work but were essential to its creation.

Jonathan's work focuses on linking creativity with knowledge representation.   He is developing models of how individuals form novel "creative circuits" that in turn enable them to spot new opportunities and creative connections.  Thus creativity emerges through a two-step process.

Professor Feinstein is committed to nurturing true creative development in educational and professional settings.  His class Creativity & Innovation is a longstanding favorite at Yale.  He lectures regularly on how to foster creative development in the classroom, focusing on unleashing creative development through exercises and sharing.

Beyond his work on creativity, Professor Feinstein is an expert in tax compliance, detection, and models of auditing and compliance. His contributions in this area include the econometric model detection controlled estimation, which has had considerable practical application, game theory models of compliance and auditing, and a widely cited review of the tax compliance field. He is also the author of a well known review of the relationship between socioeconomic status and health.

Image by Ariel Feinstein

Image by Ariel Feinstein

Recent Papers

A new version of Graduate Economics Teaching of Core Microeconomics: Diversity, Knowledge Clusters, and Job Placement is available now!  Click the link.


 The Creative Development of Fields: Learning, Creativity, Paths, Implications  is published in the Journal of the Knowledge Economy, 2017.   In the paper I construct a model of the creative development of a field through the series of creative contributions individuals make. It links economics with the field of knowledge representation.