Shiran Victoria Shen

National Fellow
Biography: 

Shiran Victoria Shen is an interdisciplinary environmental scholar whose research explores the intersections of political science, public policy, environmental sciences, and engineering, with particular understanding of how local politics influence environmental governance.

Her first book, The Political Regulation Wave: A Case of How Local Incentives Systematically Shape Air Quality in China (Cambridge University Press, 2022) offers an innovative theorization of how local political incentives can affect bureaucratic regulation. Using empirical evidence, it examines and compares the control of different air pollutants in China (an autocracy) and, to a lesser extent, Mexico (a democracy). Making use of new data, approaches, and techniques across political science, environmental sciences, and engineering, Shen reveals that local leaders and politicians are incentivized to cater to the policy preferences of their superiors or constituents, giving rise to varying levels of regulatory stringency during their tenures. Shen demonstrates that when ambiguity dilutes regulatory effectiveness, having the right incentives and enhanced monitoring is insufficient for successful policy implementation. Explaining key phenomena through anecdotes and personal interviews, this book identifies new causes of air pollution and proposes timely solutions. In dissertation form, it was the recipient of the American Political Science Association’s Harold D. Lasswell Award and the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management’s PhD Dissertation Award, both given for the best dissertation in public policy. Earlier portions received the American Political Science Association’s Paul A. Sabatier Award for the best paper in science, technology, and environmental politics and the Southern Political Science Association’s Malcolm Jewell Award for the best overall graduate student paper.

Shen is currently working on a sequel to the first book, tentatively titled China Tackles Climate Change: The Emerging Politics of Local Climate Actions. She has also published articles in academic journals on the political economy of the environment, environmental attitudes and behavior, environmental justice, and the integration of political factors into integrated assessment modeling. For more information about her research, please visit http://svshen.com. You can follow her on Twitter @SVictoriaShen.

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Hoover Book Club: Shiran Victoria Shen On The Political Regulation Wave

interview with Shiran Victoria Shen, Bill Whalenvia Fellow Talks
Thursday, April 28, 2022

A discussion with Shiran Victoria Shen on her latest book, The Political Regulation Wave moderated by Bill Whalen on Thursday, April 28 at 10AM PT/1:00PM ET.

Analysis and Commentary

Next Steps In US-China Climate Cooperation

by Shiran Victoria Shenvia Hill
Tuesday, April 26, 2022

The future sustainability of the Earth cannot do without the coordinated actions of its two largest carbon polluters — the United States and China.

Co-authors: Jean C. Oi, Yi Cui and Liang Min

The Political Regulation Wave

by Shiran Victoria Shenvia Cambridge University Press
Thursday, March 17, 2022

Why has there been uneven success in reducing air pollution even in the same locality over time? This book offers an innovative theorization of how local political incentives can affect bureaucratic regulation. Using empirical evidence, it examines and compares the control of different air pollutants in China-an autocracy-and, to a lesser extent, Mexico-a democracy. 

Analysis and Commentary

The Political Regulation Wave

by Shiran Victoria Shenvia Cambridge
Thursday, March 17, 2022

Why has there been uneven success in reducing air pollution even in the same locality over time? This book offers an innovative theorization of how local political incentives can affect bureaucratic regulation.

Analysis and Commentary

Accelerating Decarbonization In China And The United States And Promoting Bilateral Collaboration On Climate Change

by Shiran Victoria Shenvia Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy
Wednesday, December 15, 2021

In October 2021, Stanford University’s Precourt Institute for Energy, Stanford Center at Peking University, and Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center’s China Program partnered with Peking University’s Institute of Energy to organize a series of roundtables intended to promote discussion around how China and the United States can accelerate decarbonization and cooperate with one another to meet their carbon neutrality goals by mid-century.

Analysis and Commentary

Deregulation Is Not The Enemy

by Shiran Victoria Shenvia The Breakthrough Institute
Tuesday, November 30, 2021

By the late 20th century, the book on the regulatory state seemed to have been closed. On the economic side, it was deemed to be inefficient, prone to regulatory capture. To further economic growth, neoliberal politicians agreed, it was time to deregulate.

Analysis and Commentary

How To Process China's Underwhelming Climate Pledge

by Shiran Victoria Shenvia The Hill
Friday, November 5, 2021

The most recent United Nations climate report warns that we are running out of time to mitigate the worst effects of manmade climate change. We need to bring greenhouse gas emissions to even lower levels than were agreed upon during the 2015 Paris climate talks. We need accelerated action from individuals, sectors, cities and countries.

Analysis and Commentary

How Political Science Can Advance Climate Models

by Shiran Victoria Shenvia The Hill
Tuesday, October 12, 2021

From heat domes in the Pacific Northwest to floods in Henan, China, 2021 has been a year riddled with extreme weather events. Identifying appropriate ways to tackle climate change is more crucial and timelier than ever.

Analysis and Commentary

Local Actions Central To Achieving Carbon-Neutrality Goal In China

by Shiran Victoria Shenvia Cambridge University Press
Friday, October 8, 2021

Speaking to the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September 2020, President Xi Jinping declared that China would peak its carbon emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. This climate pledge is widely considered the most ambitious of any country to date, especially since China—the world’s largest carbon-emitting nation—is still developing its economy and has not yet achieved its emissions peak. 

Analysis and Commentary

Integrating Political Science Into Climate Modeling: An Example Of Internalizing The Costs Of Climate-Induced Violence In The Optimal Management Of The Climate

by Shiran Victoria Shenvia Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI)
Friday, September 24, 2021

Extant modeling of the climate has largely left out political science; that needs to change. This paper provides an example of how a critical political concept—human security—can be accounted for in climate modeling. Scientific evidence points to an active link between climate change and the incidence of interpersonal and inter-group violence. This paper puts forth a new method to internalize the costs of climate-induced violence in the optimal management of the climate.