E3 Network’s Future Economy Initiative

In communities across the US, new economic institutions are emerging to challenge business-as-usual. These bold innovations – emerging models of sustainable enterprise at the level of the firm, cluster, industry, community – respond to rising inequality, environmental degradation, economic decline. They may forge the foundation for a more resilient and equitable economy of the future.

Despite their potential significance, there is a general lack of awareness of these innovations and their impacts, leading many to assume there are no desirable alternatives to business-as-usual. Evidence pertaining to the impacts of these innovations is largely anecdotal. There has been little systematic economic analysis of these innovations and their contribution to a potential future economy.

The Future Economy Initiative is bringing rigorous economic analysis to these emerging innovations. Our goals are to document and study their social, economic, and environmental impacts and identify factors which contribute to their emergence, success, and limitations.

We assembled a team of researchers to draft a framework for analyzing future economy innovations and awarded grants to teams of researchers across the country to apply the framework to varied case studies. The results of those efforts will be published online later this year.

In the meantime, we encourage you to apply the framework in your own research and share your findings.