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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The company’s focus on stock buybacks to increase shareholder value is a reminder of why so much of the value created daily by millions of workers ends up in the hands of the billionaires
Industrial journalist Ken Jacobson and economist William Lazonick (both of the Academic-Industry Research Network), call for an end to stock market manipulation through buybacks.
Many Americans have expressed outrage over Pfizer’s plan, through its merger with Allergan, to move its tax home from the United States to Ireland. Now, in a New York Times op-ed, Carl Icahn, the billionaire corporate raider turned hedge fund activist, has joined the chorus. He labels the Pfizer-Allergan deal a “travesty,” blaming the U.S.’s “uncompetitive international tax system.”
Why are we paying for corporate behavior that crushes innovation, cheats taxpayers, cost jobs, and heightens inequality?
Featuring this expert
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.
Economics has a race problem.
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.
Like the Great Depression and the stagflation of the ’70s, the anemic growth of the U.S. economy can’t be understood or remedied without changes in economists’ thinking