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About theAIRnet

The Academic-Industry Research Network – theAIRnet – is a private, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit research organization devoted to the proposition that a sound understanding of the dynamics of industrial development requires collaboration between academic scholars and industry experts. We engage in up-to-date, in-depth, and incisive research and commentary on issues related to industrial innovation and economic development. Our goal is to understand the ways in which, through innovation, businesses and governments can contribute to equitable and stable economic growth – or what we call “sustainable prosperity”.  (read more)

As a research organization, theAIRnet prides itself on its systematic scholarly research, while recognizing that it is impossible for academics to possess the deep knowledge of the operation of companies and industries that can only come from years, and usually decades, of practical experience. In theAIRnet, industrial practitioners appreciate the research tools with which academics work and their willingness to integrate theory and reality, while academic scholars appreciate the profound, and irreplaceable, knowledge of practitioners and their willingness to ask questions about the economy and society that transcend the immediate operational concerns of their own companies and industries. The funding for our research comes from public and private agencies that seek contributions to knowledge about how and under what conditions the operation of the economy can result in stable and equitable growth – and what can be done to reform its operation when it does not. We are particularly interested in understanding the relation between “the productive economy” and “the financial economy”, and how the former can make use of, rather than be abused by, the latter. In principle, we make the findings of our research freely available in the forms of working papers and reports, although most of our research ultimately ends up in scholarly journals and commercially published books. We also seek to disseminate our research findings to a wider informed public through the news media and a variety of public events.

Featured Research

William Lazonick, “Profits Without Prosperity: Stock Buybacks Manipulate the Market and Leave Most Americans Worse Off,“ has received the HBR McKinsey Award for outstanding article in Harvard Business Review in 2014.
THE PROBLEM Corporate profitability is not translating into economic prosperity in the United States. Instead of investing profits in innovation and productive capabilities, U.S. executives are spending them on gigantic stock repurchases.

THE RESEARCH These buybacks may increase stock prices in the short term, but in the long term they undermine income equality, job stability, and growth. The buybacks mostly serve the interests of executives, much of whose compensation is in the form of stock.

THE SOLUTION Corporations should be banned from repurchasing their shares on the open market. Executives’ excessive stock-based pay should be reined in. Workers and taxpayers should be represented on corporate boards. And Congress should reform the tax system so that it rewards value creation, not value extraction.

AIR News

Stock buybacks stay popular despite criticism

Stock buybacks stay popular despite criticism

April 11, 2016   

In his latest article on April 9, 2016, Agence France Presse (AFP) business correspondent Luc Olinga cites and quotes Bill Lazonick’s […]

Election 2016: Hillary Clinton Says Her Vote For Wall Street Bailout Shows Her Support For Auto Workers

Election 2016: Hillary Clinton Says Her Vote For Wall Street Bailout Shows Her Support For Auto Workers

March 9, 2016   

By David Sirota and Andrew Perez, International Business Times, March 8, 2016 “After taxpayer cash and pension cuts helped stabilize the […]

theAIRnet shows UN panel buybacks’ damage to innovation in pharma

theAIRnet shows UN panel buybacks’ damage to innovation in pharma

March 9, 2016   

Drug companies’ perennial claim that high prices are key to funding innovation is exposed as a smokescreen for disproportionate payouts […]

Larry Fink, other Wall Street heavies, complain about short-termism. Can they turn the tide?

Larry Fink, other Wall Street heavies, complain about short-termism. Can they turn the tide?

February 3, 2016   

By Owen Davis, International Business Times, February 3, 2016 – But does focusing on “short-termism” allow executives to avoid discussing […]

Twitter   @ theAIRnet

AIR Working Papers

William Lazonick “Innovative Enterprise and the Sustainable Prosperity” AIR Working Paper #17-10/01 (Rev. 2019)

* Öner Tulum and William Lazonick, “Financialized Corporations in a National Innovation System: The US Pharmaceutical Industry” AIR Working Paper: #19-02/01

* William Lazonick, “How Stock Buybacks Make Americans Vulnerable to Globalization” AIR Working Paper: #16-03/01

William Lazonick, “Innovative Enterprise or Sweatshop Economics? In Search of Foundations of Economic Analysis” AIR Working Paper: #15-11/01

William Lazonick, “The Theory of Innovative Enterprise: A Foundation of Economic Analysis” AIR Working Paper: #13-02/01 (Revised August 2015)

* William Lazonick, Matt Hopkins and Ken Jacobson “The Burger Buyback King: McDonald’s Stock-Price Manipulation Makes Most Americans Worse Off ” AIR Working Paper #15-05/01

* William Lazonick “Labor in the Twenty-First Century: The Top 0.1% and the Disappearing Middle-Class” AIR Working Paper #14-08/01 (Revised  February 2015)


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