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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.

By this expert

European Ruling Highlights Apple's Corrupted Business Model

Article | Aug 31, 2016

There is much for U.S. authorities to learn from the European example of forcing corporations to pay their fair share of taxes, but more far-reaching oversight of executives’ allocation of resources is also required

If CEO Pay Was Measured Properly, It Would Look Even More Outrageus

Article | Dec 22, 2016

Research funded by the Institute for New Economic Thinking has revealed that the SEC reports executive compensation using a formula that routinely undercounts it

The Equal Employment Opportunity Omission

Paper Working Paper Series | | Dec 2016

On June 2, 1965, under a mandate established by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the U.S. Congress created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to enforce federal anti-discrimination laws related to employment. The expectation was that African Americans would be prime beneficiaries of the EEOC. There was no assumption that the EEOC, on its own, could reverse deep-rooted employment discrimination against blacks. But in the late 1960s there was optimism that, in combination with equal educational opportunity and the strong demand for unionized workers in the well-paid manufacturing jobs that marked the post-World War II decades, the EEOC could help to ensure that an ever-increasing number of blacks would ascend to the American middle class.

The Value-Extracting CEO: How Executive Stock-Based Pay Undermines Investment in Productive Capabilities

Paper Working Paper Series | | Dec 2016

The business corporation is the central economic institution in a modern economy. A company’s senior executives, with the advice and support of the board of directors, are responsible for the allocation of corporate resources to investments in productive capabilities. Senior executives also advise the board on the extent to which, given the need to invest in productive capabilities, the company can afford to make cash distributions to shareholders. Motivating corporate resource-allocation decisions are the modes of remuneration that incentivize and reward the top executives of these companies. A sound analysis of the operation and performance of a modern economy requires an understanding of not only how much these executives are paid but also the ways in which the prevailing system of executive pay influences their decisions to allocate corporate resources.

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.

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.

Yellen Challenges Economists Amid Elusive Great Recovery

Article | Oct 24, 2016

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