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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In this comment, we explain our objections to the SEC’s current formulation of the Pay Ratio Disclosure Rule on each of three grounds: the erroneous estimation of CEO pay; the unclear specification of the “median” worker; and the risk of normalizing a pay ratio that is far too high. Then we present the latest data on the remuneration of the 500 highest-paid CEOs in the United States, demonstrating the way in which the SEC’s measure of CEO pay that enters into the CEO-to-median-worker pay ratio tends to systematically underestimate actual executive pay.
Research funded by the Institute for New Economic Thinking has revealed that the SEC reports executive compensation using a formula that routinely undercounts it
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
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.
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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
Justice requires that the media, policy makers, and the public understand why corporations engage in misconduct and fraud
Does general equilibrium theory sufficiently enhance our understanding of the economic process to make the entire exercise worthwhile, if we consider that other forms of thinking may have been ‘crowded out’ as a result of its being the ‘dominant discourse’? What, in the end, have we really learned from it?
Business school students are taught to extract resources instead of creating value.