industrial equipment

Funded Research

Principal Investigators: Lisa Maillart (Swanson School of Engineering) and Supriya Kumar (Graduate School of Public Health

Topic: On the Allocation and Use of Paid Sick Days in Today’s Workplace: A Multidisciplinary Approach

Award: $50,000.00  

Principal Investigators: Phil Williams (Matthew B. Ridgway Center for Security and Intelligence Studies at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs), Thomas Congedo (Associate Director of the Stephen R. Tritch Nuclear Engineering Program) and Yu-Ru Lin (School of Information Science)

Topic: Intersections: Nuclear Smuggling, Transnational Organized Crime, and Terrorism: Enhancing Intelligence and Policy Responses 

Award: $20,000.00

Principal Investigators: Hoda Bikhori (Swanson School of Engineering) and Keivan Sadeghzadeh

(Prediction Analysis Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management )

Topic: Predictive Analytics for Operational Failures in Medical and Healthcare Systems

Award: $5,000.00

Principal Investigators: Frank Giarratani, Jean-Francois Richard, Mehmet Ali Soytas

This research presents and applies a dynamic model of monthly U.S ferrous scrap prices for the period of 1990 to 2010. Our analysis takes into account the nonlinear reaction of price changes to "excess demand" and addresses the challenge of forecasting in a market where long-standing trends are disrupted by dramatic changes in international demand. We bring modern statistical techniques to bear on analysis in a forecasting environment long dominated by predictions based on the immediate experience of industry practitioners.

A Dynamic Model of U.S. Scrap Steel Prices (PDF)

Policy, Regulation and Innovation in Chinese Industry

Project Directors: Loren Brandt, Thomas G. Rawski

What drives the growing innovative capacity of Chinese industry? What is its likely trajectory? Do China's policies accelerate the accumulation of manufacturing capabilities? This project adopts a three-stage approach to answering these questions.

Project directors

Loren Brandt, University of Toronto
Thomas G. Rawski, University of Pittsburgh

Multidisciplinary teams will conduct intensive documentary and field studies of six high-priority industries. Adding firm-level data on production, finance, and trade will expand our analysis to encompass the entire industrial sector. We then focus on the prospects for key upstream technologies that emerge from the initial research. At the micro-level, our study will measure the effectiveness of multiple channels of technological upgrading; at the macro-level, it will deliver a comprehensive overview of China's national innovation system.


Michael Davidson, MIT

Douglas B. Fuller, Zhejiang University

Ravi Madhavan, University of Pittsburgh 

Margaret M. Pearson, University of Maryland

Zhi Qiang, Central University of Finance and Economics, Beijing

Richard P. Suttmeier, University of Oregon

Timothy Sturgeon, MIT

Eric Thun, University of Oxford

Qingfeng Tian, Northwest Polytechnic University, Xi’an

Luhang Wang, Xiamen University

Irene S. Wu, U.S. Federal Communications Commission

Yi-chong Xu, Griffith University

Principal Investigator: Frank Giarratani

The steel industry in Pittsburgh was emblematic of the American steel industry's decline in the 1980s. Although airbrushed from the popular image of Pittsburgh's present and future, the region's signature industry has played a key positive role in Pittsburgh's widely acknowledged economic transformation. Through restructuring, the steel industry has solidified Pittsburgh's manufacturing base and helped to connect southwestern Pennsylvania to the world economy. The goal of this research is to produce a book that traces this remarkable trajectory and places Pittsburgh's modern steel industry in an historical context.

By drawing on the region's industrial history and contemporary practices of firms throughout the steel value chain, this research seeks to expose key aspects of Pittsburgh's economic resilience. The experience of steel-related firms will be used to demonstrate the vitality of the steel industry in the Pittsburgh region by explaining the ways in which innovative firms adapt to changing market conditions.

Steel in the City - Chapter Outline (PDF)

Principal Investigators: Frank Giarratani, Gene Gruver, Carey Treado

The database compiled at the Center for Industry Studies to support research on the steel industry is extensive, and it includes records related to all steel-making plants in the United States with raw steel making capacity from 1978 to 2003. Data for the steel mills is drawn from industry sources such as 33 Metal Producing and Iron & Steelmaker (I&SM), and related data on economic variables for steel producing regions are compiled from public sources. To prepare the data for use on applied modeling problems, we secured the help of database experts and have constructed a relational database using Microsoft® Access. The effort in this work has been substantial in that it required the organization of data from numerous fragmented sources. Once organized, further substantial efforts were required to document the data, prepare necessary data entry forms, and train students for implementation and use of the database. Although the database is no longer being updated, it remains a powerful tool for analyzing past trends related to steel manufacturing in the United States.

Steel Plant Database Overview, Slideshow (PDF)

Reducing Industrial Accidents, Worker Chemical Exposure and Pollution in the Chemical Industry

PI Shanti Gamper-Rabindran and Stephen Finger

Industry self-regulation, voluntary programs and information disclosure programs have become exceedingly important in risky industries, with the decline in regulatory budgets and the increasing costs of traditional regulations. We construct a detailed database of about 3,000 chemical plants in the US over a decade, with economic, environmental and regulatory information. We find that industry self-regulation and voluntary standards, in the presence of effective liability laws, can effectively reduce industrial accidents and worker exposure to toxic chemicals, respectively.[1,2] However, when complementary liability laws are absent, self-regulation programs are not likely to reduce pollution. [3, 4] Our research also finds that mandatory pollution disclosure programs, aimed at reducing chemical factories' pollution releases into the environment, is associated with a decline in workers' exposure to chemicals inside these factories. [5]

Acknowledgement: National Science Foundation SES 1127223 and BCS 0351058, Central Research Development Fund, European Union Center for Excellence, University Center for International Studies, Center for Industry Studies. 

  1. S. Finger and S. Gamper-Rabindran. Testing the effects of self-regulation on industrial accidents.  Journal of Regulatory Economics  , 43(2) 2013:115-146
  2. S. Finger and S. Gamper-Rabindran. Voluntary versus mandatory standards: Protecting workers from adverse chemical exposure. Center for Industry Studies WP # 36, 2012.
  3. S. Gamper-Rabindran. Did the EPA's voluntary Industrial Toxics program reduce plants' emissions? A GIS analysis of distributional impacts and a by-media analysis of substitution.  Journal of Environmental Economics and Management  52(1) 2006:391-410.
  4. S. Gamper-Rabindran and S. Finger. Does self-regulation reduce pollution? Responsible Care program in the chemical industry  . Journal of Regulatory Economics,  43(1) 2013: 1-30.
  5. S. Finger and S. Gamper-Rabindran. Mandatory disclosure of plant emissions into the environment and worker chemical exposure inside plants.  Ecological Economics,  87, 2013: 124-136.

Principal Investigators: John Camillus and Bopaya Bidanda

The Business of the Humanity Project seeks to develop an economic model informed by the criterion of "humanity." The project also attempts to rethink the strategy paradigm by incorporating humanity. This requires redefining the strategy process; recognizing the significance of social networks; shifting from an emphasis on competition to "co-opetition" and alliances; incorporating multi-criteria, multiple stakeholder decision processes;responding to the wicked nature of many strategic issues; and integrating content and processes. The project develops case studies, holds conferences, and maintains an online network of managers and academics to achieve its objectives.