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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

Profits Without Prosperity – Stock Buybacks Manipulate the Market and Leave Most Americans Worse Off

September’s Harvard Business Review, which features theAIRnet President William Lazonick’s new article,”Profits Without Prosperity – Stock Buybacks Manipulate the Market and Leave Most Americans Worse Off,” is now available online.


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.
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.
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.

RESEARCH UPDATE: Stock buybacks, 2004-2013 & Stock-based components of executive pay, 2006-2012

theAIRnet News

How Superstar Companies Like Apple Are Killing America’s High-Tech Future

How Superstar Companies Like Apple Are Killing America’s High-Tech Future

December 12, 2014   

In this December 11 Huffington Post Blog piece, author and cultural theorist Lynn Parramore interviews theAIRnet president William Lazonick and talks about where high-quality, […]

An Open Letter to Tim Cook, CEO of Apple – What Apple Should Do with Its Massive Piles of Money

An Open Letter to Tim Cook, CEO of Apple – What Apple Should Do with Its Massive Piles of Money

November 5, 2014   

AIRnet president Bill Lazonick’s open letter to Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, appeared in HBR Blog Network on October 20, 2014. […]

Carl Icahn’s Bad Advice

Carl Icahn’s Bad Advice

November 5, 2014   

The New York Times Op-Ed Columnist Joe Nocera discusses about why Tim Cook should stop caring what Carl Icahn thinks. Click […]

Buybacks: Money well spent?

Buybacks: Money well spent?

October 16, 2014   

  The Financial Times contributors, Michael Mackenzie, Tom Braithwaite and Nicole Bullock ask whether the buybacks of corporate stocks are […]

AIR Working Papers

pdf-512Matt Hopkins & William Lazonick “Who Invests in the High-Tech Knowledge Base?” AIR Working Paper #14-09/01

pdf-512William Lazonick “Labor in the Twenty-First Century: The Top 0.1% and the Disappearing Middle-Class” AIR Working Paper #14-08/01

pdf-512William Lazonick “Taking Stock: Why Executive Pay Results in an Unstable and Inequitable Economy,” “ Roosevelt Institute White Paper, June 5, 2014

pdf-512William Lazonick “Innovative Enterprise and Shareholder Value” AIR Working Paper #14-03/01


Matt Hopkins “The Makings of a Champion or, Wind Innovation for Sale: The Wind Industry in the United States 1980-2011″ AIR Working Paper #13-08/02


Matt Hopkins and William Lazonick “Soaking Up the Sun and Blowing in the Wind: Clean Tech Needs Patient Capital” AIR Working Paper #13-08/01


William Lazonick, Mariana Mazzucato and Oner Tulum “Apple’s Changing Business Model: What Should the World’s Richest Company Do with All Those Profits?” AIR Working Paper #13-07/01


William Lazonick “The Theory of Innovative Enterprise: A Foundation of Economic Analysis” AIR Working Paper #13-05/01


Berlin Conference on Financial Institutions for Innovation and Development November 10-11, 2014
Sponsors: Ford Foundation & Hans Böckler Stiftung
Organizers: Leonardo Burlamaqui, Michael Faust, Jürgen Kädtler, William Lazonick Venue: Auditorium Friedrichstrasse, Friedrichstrasse 180 10117 Berlin


Edith Penrose Centenary Conference: A celebration of the work and legacy of the influential economist
November 14-15, 2014
Sponsors: University of London, INSEAD, The Oxford Institute of Energy Studies Venue: School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London


On August 11-13, 2014, Bill Lazonick, president of theAIRnet, and two AIR associates, Kaidong Feng of Peking University and Yin Li of Georgia Institute of Technology, visited Huawei Technologies in Shenzhen, China, to learn about how, in just over 25 years, the company grew to become a world leader in  

communication equipment and China’s foremost example of a global high-tech competitor. Their study of Huawei is part of a project on innovation and competition in the global communication technology that is a major focus of theAIRnet’s research efforts.

News from theAIRnet

Lazonick gave an interview to AlterNet on stock buybacks

August 21, 2014   

In August 2014, theAIRnet president William Lazonick gave an interview to Lynn Parramore of AlterNet on “the widespread and little-understood […]

Yves Smith discusses “The Myth of Maximizing Shareholder Value”

February 1, 2014   

On January 24, Yves Smith, creator of Naked Capitalism, discusses “The Myth of Maximizing Shareholder Value” and theAIRnet president Bill […]

Washington Post ran two articles

December 20, 2013   

In December 2013, drawing on the research of theAIRnet president, Bill Lazonick, the Washington Post ran two articles, one by Jia […]

Twitter   @ theAIRnet


Twitter   From theAIRnet Youtube Channel

Featured Publications


L’industrie pharmaceutique – Règles, acteurs et pouvoir

Marie-Claude Bergouignan, Matthieu Montalban, Andy Smith, Erdem Sakinç

Corporate Governance, Employee Voice, and Work Organization

Corporate Governance, Employee Voice, and Work Organization

Inge Lippert, Tony Huzzard, Ulrich Jürgens & William Lazonick

Beyond Shareholder Value: The reasons and choices for corporate governance reform

Beyond Shareholder Value: The reasons and choices for corporate governance reform

Edited by Janet Williamson, Ciaran Driver & Peter Kenway

Sustainable prosperity in the new economy?

WINNER OF THE  2010 SCHUMPETER PRIZE : Sustainable prosperity in the new economy?

Business Organization and High-Tech Employment in the United States (Upjohn Institute Press, 2009).

by William Lazonick



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