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.

By this expert

Employment and Earnings of African Americans Fifty Years After: Progress?

Paper Working Paper Series | | Jul 2020

To fulfill MLK’s vision of jobs and freedom for Black Americans, Washington must rein in corporate greed

Musk and Tesla: Compensation or Control?

Article | Jun 18, 2024

The $48 Billion Stock-Option Package and its Implications for the EV Transition

How GM’s $10-Billion Buyback May Ice Its EV Transition

Article | Dec 18, 2023

Reindustrialization vs Financialization

What the UAW and Everyone Else Need to Know About CEO Pay

Article | Oct 2, 2023

What is GM CEO Mary Barra’s take-home pay? (It’s more than you are being told)

Featuring this expert

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.

How Shareholder Value Fixation Turns AI and Robotics into a Recipe for Failure

Article | Sep 11, 2023

New technologies are not the problem. It’s a system distorted by a flawed ideology.

William Lazonick's INET-Funded Research Is Cited in Quartz

News Feb 17, 2022

“What is the motivation for tax avoidance? To maximize profits and juice the stock price, of course. A research team led by William Lazonick at the University of Massachusetts reports in Harvard Business Review that from 2009 to 2019, S&P 500 companies spent over 90% of net income on buybacks and dividends, with the highest levels achieved after the 2017 tax cuts, in 2018 and 2019. Taking on corporate debt to finance share repurchases has become commonplace. Never mind that share buybacks deplete corporate treasuries of cash to weather setbacks and to fund productive investment in labor and R&D.”

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.”