Laboratory Safety and Research Productivity

43 Pages Posted: 27 May 2022

See all articles by Alberto Galasso

Alberto Galasso

University of Toronto - Strategic Management

Hong Luo

Harvard Business School - Strategy Unit

Brooklynn Zhu

BI Norwegian Business School

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 1, 2022

Abstract

Are laboratory safety practices a tax on scientific productivity? We examine this question by exploiting the substantial increase in safety regulations at the University of California following the shocking accidental death of a research assistant in 2008. Difference-in-differences analyses show that relative to `dry lab' scientists who use theoretical and computational methods, the publication rates of `wet lab' scientists who conduct experiments on chemical and biological substances did not change significantly after the shock. At the same time, we find that the shock induced the wet laboratories that more frequently used dangerous substances to reduce their reliance on flammable materials and unfamiliar hazardous compounds. Our findings suggest that laboratory safety may shape the production of science, but they do not support the claim that safety practices impose a significant tax on research productivity.

Keywords: economics of science, risk perception, Safety regulation

JEL Classification: J24, K13, O31

Suggested Citation

Galasso, Alberto and Luo, Hong and Zhu, Brooklynn, Laboratory Safety and Research Productivity (May 1, 2022). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP17317, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4121509

Alberto Galasso (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Strategic Management ( email )

Canada

Hong Luo

Harvard Business School - Strategy Unit ( email )

Harvard Business School
Soldiers Field Road
Boston, MA 02163
United States

Brooklynn Zhu

BI Norwegian Business School ( email )

Nydalsveien 37
Oslo, 0442
Norway

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
0
Abstract Views
222
PlumX Metrics