Welcome! I am an interdisciplinary environmental scholar whose research explores the intersections of political science, public policy, environmental sciences, and engineering. I serve as a senior research scholar and the lead for a new program on China’s energy and climate issues at the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability‘s Precourt Institute for Energy. In spring 2023, I will be a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. I hold a tenure-line faculty position (on unpaid leave) at the University of Virginia.
My primary research pipeline investigates how local politics shape climate and environmental governance. My first book is The Political Regulation Wave: A Case of How Local Incentives Systematically Shape Air Quality in China (Cambridge University Press, 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. I am currently working on a sequel on the emerging politics of local climate actions in China.
Leveraging my interdisciplinary training, I am thinking about 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. My 2021 peer-reviewed study is among the earliest works in this emerging area. I describe ideas about the broader agenda in this short opinions piece.
I graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Swarthmore College and was the first to complete a joint M.S. in civil and environmental engineering and Ph.D. in political science at Stanford University. I can be reached via email and found on Twitter Follow @svictoriashen.
10/2022: Paperback version, The Political Regulation Wave: A Case of How Local Incentives Systematically Shape Air Quality in China, is published by Cambridge University Press. Watch the recorded livestream of book presentation and discussion here.
04/2022: Op-ed, “Next steps in US-China climate cooperation,” is published in The Hill.
03/2022: Book, The Political Regulation Wave: A Case of How Local Incentives Systematically Shape Air Quality in China, is published by Cambridge University Press.
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. View press release.
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.Older Updates
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.