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”. 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.
AIR core team currently includes 25 academics based in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Singapore, and China, all of whom work with Lazonick on a regular basis. We have industry expertise in communication technology, pharmaceuticals, alternative energy, aerospace, and automobiles. In the area of industrial innovation, we have distinguished ourselves by our understanding of investment strategy, organizational learning, and corporate finance, while in the area of corporate financialization, we have been leaders in researching the deleterious practice of stock buybacks and its relation to stock-based executive pay.