From the September 2014 Issue, Harvard Business Review

(作者有新書:Predatory Value Extraction: How the Looting of the Business Corporation Became the US Norm and How Sustainable Prosperity Can Be Restored, William Lazonick and Jang-Sup Shin, Oxford UP, 2019)

股份回購的作用為何?在2003-2012年間,美國上市公司S&P500中449家公司,用了54%的收益(2.4兆美元)來買回其股份,幾乎全是在市場上購買,其餘37%用來分紅,剩下極少%才用來進行投資! 在2012年,全美500個所得最高的CEO平均每人得到30.3百萬,42%來自stock options, 41% stock awards,亦即股份回購在短期內可以提升股票價格,改善EPS。

戰後至1980年代之前,美國公司對收益採取retain-reinvest做法,促進value creation而非value extraction。1970年代末開始採取降低成本、增加分紅的策略,downsize-and-distribute。0.1%所得分額增至11.3%/2012年。薪資停滯(只有1998-2000增了2%)。

Good buybacks: tender offers, a way for executives to have large share and care about the company’s future. (maybe 5% of buybacks)

Bad ones: to manage stock prices. The SEC instituted Rule 10b-18 of the Securities Exchange Act, to allow repurchase of shares with few restrictions (25%), and without fear of price-manipulation charges. CEOs are serving their own interests.

A related issue is the notion that the CEO’s obligation is to maximize shareholder value “MSV”. (Michael Jensen) The MSV school ignores other participants, like the taxpayers and workers, who bear risk. Thus, MSV is a theory of value extraction, not value creation.

Reform the system; put an end to open-market buybacks; rein in stock-backed pay; transform the boards.

3 examples of hypocrisy: 1) Exxon Mobile, received $600 million a year in government subsidies for oil exploration, spends about $21 billion a year on buybacks, and no money on alternative energy research. 2) After Intel’s lobbying, the government launched the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) in 2001, through 2013 Intel’s buyback amount was 4 times the NNI budget. 3) Pfizer argues that drug prices are high because they need high prices to support research. But from 2003-2012, Pfizer funneled an amount equal to 71% of its profits into buybacks.

原创 兰小欢 文短图长 2020/3/15



1. 当前经济学教科书,大多依托美国成熟的市场经济现状写成,但在中国的教学中,是否应该更加重视经济发展过程、也就是市场经济的形成和培育过程?对中国学生而言,真正重要的“发展经济学”是什么:是站在发达国家角度对当前发展中国家的考察和研究(目前主流发展经济学)呢?还是学习发达国家实际经历的经济发展过程和历史?美国大学的经济系普遍不重视经济史,很多大学干脆不教,中国大学也普遍不重视,这对我们理解经济发展有多大障碍?

2. 什么是经济学本科教育的核心:是宣扬一套市场经济体系的理念(实质是自由主义的理念)?还是去理解中国经济现实?如果事实和教科书理念不符,就自然意味着必须改革现实么?还是应该转变观念?

3. 对以学术为志业的学生,我们大概知道教什么和怎么教;但绝大多数学生并不以学术为志业,对他们,应该教什么和怎么教?

Capital and ideology

Thomas Piketty, Harvard University Press – March 2020


Extracts from the book and table of contents (pdf)

Figures and tables (list) (all)

Supplementary figures (list) (all)

Presentation slides (pdf) (short version)

Presentation slides (pdf) (long version)

Technical appendix (pdf)

Data series (xls)

All files (zip)

Book review, By Paul Krugman, March 8, 2020 NYT

By Thomas Piketty

For Piketty, rising inequality is at root a political phenomenon. The social-democratic framework that made Western societies relatively equal for a couple of generations after World War II, he argues, was dismantled, not out of necessity, but because of the rise of a “neo-proprietarian” ideology. Indeed, this is a view shared by many, though not all, economists. These days, attributing inequality mainly to the ineluctable forces of technology and globalization is out of fashion, and there is much more emphasis on factors like the decline of unions, which has a lot to do with political decisions.

But why did policy take a hard-right turn? Piketty places much of the blame on center-left parties, which, as he notes, increasingly represent highly educated voters. These more and more elitist parties, he argues, lost interest in policies that helped the disadvantaged, and hence forfeited their support. And his clear implication is that social democracy can be revived by refocusing on populist economic policies, and winning back the working class.

Piketty could be right about this, but as far as I can tell, most political scientists would disagree.

Richard Baldwin 实验主义治理 2020/3/8


瑞士日内瓦研究生院Baldwin教授是著名国际经济学家,本公号第270期曾发表他“理解关贸总协定成功的原因和探究世贸组织困境的根源”,第278期曾发表对他研究全球价值链的名著“大合流”(The Great Convergence)的书评。2020年3月6日,他作为主编之一的“新冠肺炎的经济学”出版(免费下载 ) 。本期公号推荐他在这本新书中和日本经济学家Eiichi Tomiura合写的第5章的部分内容,从全球价值链对新冠肺炎的贸易影响作出分析。他们的分析基于WTO等国际组织的 “2019年全球价值链发展报告” ( 免费下载: ,特别是如下两张表。从表1可看出,中国处于全球纺织行业价值链的核心地位,而在其它行业则处于重要的区域网络节点。