William Lazonick is professor of economics at University of Massachusetts Lowell. He is also visiting professor at University of Ljubljana, professeur associé at Institut Mines-Télécom in Paris, and professorial research associate, SOAS, University of London. He is co-founder and president of the Academic-Industry Research Network, a 501(c)(3) research organization. Previously, he was on the faculties of Harvard University, Columbia University, INSEAD, and University of Tokyo. His book Sustainable Prosperity in the New Economy? Business Organization and High-Tech Employment in the United States (Upjohn Institute 2009) won the 2010 Schumpeter Prize. His article “Profits Without Prosperity: Stock Buybacks Manipulate the Market and Leave Most Americans Worse Off,” earned the HBR McKinsey Award for outstanding article in Harvard Business Review in 2014. His most recent papers include “Stock Buybacks: From Retain-and-Reinvest to Downsize-and-Distribute”; “Innovative Enterprise or Sweatshop Economics? In Search of Foundations of Economic Analysis”; “U.S. Pharma’s Business Model: Why It Is Broken and How It Can Be Fixed” (see submissions #1 and #2 to the UN High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines); and “The Mismeasure of Mammon: The Uses and Abuses of Executive Pay Data.”.” His recent research has been funded by the Institute for New Economic Thinking, Ford Foundation, and European Commission. Lazonick has a BCom from University of Toronto, MSc in economics from London School of Economics, a PhD in economics from Harvard University, and an honorary doctorate from Uppsala University. In December 2016 Lazonick will receive an honorary doctorate from University of Ljubljana.
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There is much for U.S. authorities to learn from the European example of forcing corporations to pay their fair share of taxes, but more far-reaching oversight of executives’ allocation of resources is also required
Workers, innovation, and productivity all suffer when corporations spend their new U.S. tax breaks on stock buybacks.
We want an economy that generates stable and equitable growth—or what I call “sustainable prosperity.” We want productivity growth that makes it possible for the population to have higher living standards over time. We want an equitable sharing of the gains from productivity growth among those whose work efforts and financial resources contribute to that growth. And we want sufficient job stability to enable workers to remain in productive employment for some four decades at work while providing them with enough savings to provide them with adequate incomes over some two decades of retirement.
The Theory of the Firm, Financial Flows, and Economic Performance
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Lazonick discusses how we evolved from a society in which corporate interests were largely aligned with those of broader public purpose into a state where crony capitalism, accounting fraud, and corporate predation are predominant characteristics.
The Washington Post cites William Lazonick’s INET paper on shareholder value
Vox cites William Lazonick’s INET paper on shareholder value
INET grantee William Lazonick explains why Sen. Tammy Baldwin is proposing to ban stock buybacks.