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

Innovative Enterprise Solves the Agency Problem

Paper Working paper | | Oct 2017

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

How “Shareholder Value” is Killing Innovation

Article | Jul 31, 2017

The prevailing stock market ideology enriches value extractors, not value creators

US Pharma’s Financialized Business Model

Paper Working Paper Series | | Jul 2017

Price gouging in the US pharmaceutical drug industry goes back more than three decades.

The Functions of the Stock Market and the Fallacies of Shareholder Value

Paper Working Paper Series | | Jun 2017

Conventional wisdom has it that the primary function of the stock market is to raise cash for companies for the purpose of investing in productive capabilities. The conventional wisdom is wrong.

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.