William Lazonick, professor emeritus of economics at University of Massachusetts, is co-founder and president of the Academic-Industry Research Network, a 501(c)(3) non-profit research organization, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is an Open Society Fellow and a Canadian Institute for Advanced Research Fellow.Over the past decade, the Institute for New Economic Thinking has funded a number of his research projects.

He has professorial affiliations with SOAS University of London and Institut Mines-Télécom in Paris. Previously, Lazonick was assistant and associate professor of economics at Harvard University, professor of economics at Barnard College of Columbia University, and distinguished research professor at INSEAD in France. Lazonick earned his B.Com. at the University of Toronto, M.Sc. in Economics at London School of Economics, and Ph.D. in Economics at Harvard University. He holds honorary doctorates from Uppsala University and the University of Ljubljana.

His research focuses on the social conditions of innovation and economic development in advanced and emerging economies. 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. He has twice—in 1983 and 2010—had the award from Harvard Business School for best article of the year in Business History Review. In 2014, he received the HBR McKinsey Award for outstanding article in Harvard Business Review for “Profits Without Prosperity: Stock Buybacks Manipulate the Market and Leave Most Americans Worse Off.” In January 2020, Oxford University Press published his book, co-authored with Jang-Sup Shin, Predatory Value Extraction: How the Looting of the Business Corporation Became the U.S. Norm and How Sustainable Prosperity Can Be Restored.

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The Myth of Maximizing Shareholder Value

Video | Jan 22, 2014

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.

William Lazonick’s INET funded research is cited in Counter Punch

News Mar 22, 2021

“As William Lazonick and other analysts have pointed out, stock buybacks artificially inflate executive pay and drain capital that could be put to productive purpose. .[xxv] — Sarah Anderson, Counter Punch [xxv] William Lazonick, “Profits Without Prosperity,” Harvard Business Review, September 2014.”

William Lazonick’s INET funded research was cited in Crenshaw’s speech at the SEC

News Mar 10, 2021

“And what if there is a stock buyback during the period the share price is inflated? Does that harm shareholders because the company is spending money to repurchase its stock, or does it actually further benefit them by potentially raising earnings per share (EPS)?” … Citation: William Lazonick, The Financialization of the U.S. Corporation: What Has Been Lost and How It Can Be Regained, 36 Seattle U. L. Rev. 857, 859 (2013) (noting that trillions of dollars are spent on share buybacks and that “corporate executives who make these decisions are themselves prime beneficiaries of this focus on rising stock prices as a the measure of corporate performance”)

Lazonick and Shin's INET funded research is cited in Naked Capitalism

News Jan 26, 2021

“In taking over industrial companies, financial managers focus on the short run, because their salary and bonuses are based on current year’s performance. The “performance” in question is stock market performance. Stock prices have largely become independent from sales volume and profits, now that they are enhanced by corporations typically paying out some 92 percent of their revenue in dividends and stock buybacks.[6]” — Michael Hudson, Naked Capitalism [6]William Lazonick, “Profits Without Prosperity:Stock Buybacks Manipulate the Market and Leave Most Americans Worse Off,”Harvard Business Review, September 2014. And more recently, Lazonick and Jang-Sup Shin, Predatory Value Extraction: How the Looting of the Business Corporation Became the U.S. Norm and How Sustainable Prosperity Can Be Restored(Oxford: 2020).