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

​Apple’s “Capital Return Program”: Where Are the Patient Capitalists?

Article | Nov 13, 2018

Instead of rewarding the taxpayers and employees who actually create value for the tech giant, Apple is doling out massive stock buybacks

Stock Buybacks Hurt Workers and the Economy. We Should Ban Them.

Article | Feb 27, 2018

Workers, innovation, and productivity all suffer when corporations spend their new U.S. tax breaks on stock buybacks.

Innovative Enterprise and Sustainable Prosperity

Paper Conference paper | | Oct 2017

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.

Innovative Enterprise Solves the Agency Problem

Paper Working paper | | Oct 2017

The Theory of the Firm, Financial Flows, and Economic Performance

Featuring this expert

How Economists Turned Corporations into Predators

Article | Oct 5, 2017

The Idea That Businesses Exist Solely to Enrich Shareholders Is Harmful Nonsense

The Rise and Fall of the American Middle Class

Video | Apr 19, 2017

How rationalization, marketization, and globalization characterize the U.S. economy during the past 50 years, and how the behavior of companies and fate of American workers have changed during this process.

Tomorrow’s Detroits & Detroit’s Tomorrows

Event Conference Race & Economics | Nov 11–12, 2016

Economics has a race problem.

Lazonick links stock buybacks to America’s jobs challenge

Video | Nov 4, 2016

In an Al Jazeera documentary “In Search of the Great American Job”, Institute scholar William Lazonick offers some arch insights into the relationship between financialization — particularly the “shareholder value” ideology in corporations, which drives the transfer of profits to shareholders through stock buybacks — and job creation and inequality.