Creative evolution in economics

Abigail Devereaux, Roger Koppl, Stuart Kauffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We develop a representation of creative evolution in economics based on the theory of the adjacent possible. We start by introducing an epistemological framework for economic theorizing that copes with unknowability and the unlistability of possibility spaces. From this framework, we discuss the use of knowledge in creatively evolving systems and derive four main results: that local knowledge is itself a mechanism of movement through the adjacent possible; that all action is entrepreneurial action; that causality is ambiguous; and that individuals can agree to disagree. We then apply these results to decision-making, innovation, and the emergence of institutions and commons in creatively evolving systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Economics
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Adjacent possible
  • B41
  • C00
  • D83
  • Innovation
  • Institutional emergence
  • Local knowledge
  • O30
  • O40

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Economics and Econometrics


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