About


Welcome!  Shiran Victoria Shen is an interdisciplinary environmental scholar whose research explores the intersections of political science, public policy, environmental sciences, and engineering.  She forged her own path at Stanford University by simultaneously completing a Ph.D. in political science and an M.S. in civil and environmental engineering in five years after graduating Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, and with high honors from Swarthmore College.  She is currently based at Stanford University as a National Fellow at the Hoover Institution.  She also has a tenure-track faculty position at the University of Virginia.

Her primary research pipeline explores how local politics shape environmental, climate, and regulatory policy making and implementation.  She studies those dynamics 1) in China, 2) in US/China comparison, and 3) in other countries under the Belt and Road Initiative.  Her three books will form a trilogy on the environmental politics and governance of China.  The first installment, The Political Regulation Wave: A Case of How Local Incentives Systematically Shape Air Quality in China, is scheduled for release from Cambridge University Press in April 2022.  In dissertation form, it was the recipient of two major association awards, the American Political Science Association’s Harold D. Lasswell Award and the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management’s Ph.D. Dissertation Award.  Earlier versions of its parts received the American Political Science Association’s Paul A. Sabatier Award for the best paper in science, technology & environmental politics and the Southern Political Science Association’s Malcolm Jewell Award for the best overall graduate student paper.  She is currently working on the second and the third installments of the trilogy: 1) China Tackles Climate Change: The Emerging Politics of Local Climate Actions and 2) The Renewable Energy Investment Gap: How Domestic Politics in Recipient Countries Impede the Greening of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Leveraging her interdisciplinary training, she is developing another pipeline that seeks to integrate and improve the representation of political factors in integrated assessment models.  Existing models have integrated economic, technological, and biophysical processes that produce greenhouse gas emissions.  While politics play a significant role in shaping climate-related policies and trajectories, political scientists have not been actively involved in developing integrated assessment models, and by extension, the scientific foundation to climate policymaking.  So far, she has published one peer-reviewed study, which is among the earliest works in this emerging area.  She describes ideas about the broader agenda in this short piece.

Her other works span the political economy of the environment, environmental attitudes and behavior, and environmental justice.

She can be reached via email and found on Twitter .

Recent News:

12/2021: Report, “Accelerating Decarbonization in China and the United States and Promoting Bilateral Collaboration on Climate Change,” is published by Stanford University Precourt Institute for Energy.

11/2021: Editor-invited journal article, “Deregulation Is Not the Enemy: It Can Be Good for the Economy—and the Environment Too,” is published in the Breakthrough Journal (commissioned by the Breakthrough Institute).

11/2021: Op-ed, “How to process China’s underwhelming climate pledge,” is published in The Hill.

10/2021: Blog post, “Local Actions Central to Achieving Carbon-Neutrality Goal in China,” is published as part of the “Glasgow and Beyond: Organizational Response to Climate Change” Online Symposium in Cambridge University Press FifteenEightyFour.

10/2021: Op-ed, “How political science can advance climate models,” is published in The Hill.

09/2021: Peer-reviewed journal article, “Integrating Political Science into Climate Modeling: An Example of Internalizing the Costs of Climate-Induced Violence in the Optimal Management of the Climate,” is published in Sustainability.

09/2020: Ph.D. dissertation, The Political Pollution Cycle: An Inconvenient Truth and How to Break It, receives the Harold D. Lasswell Award from the American Political Science Association for “the best doctoral dissertation in the field of public policy in the past two calendar years.”  View the official announcement and award citation.

05/2020: Peer-reviewed journal article, “Environmental Justice in India: Incidence of Air Pollution from Coal-Fired Power Plants,” is published in Ecological Economics.