Shiran Victoria Shen was formerly a National Fellow at the Hoover Institution for the 2021-2022 year.

She is currently a Senior Research Scholar and leads the China Energy and Climate Program (in development) at the Precourt Institute for Energy within the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability. An interdisciplinary environmental scholar, Shen researches the intersections of political science, public policy, environmental sciences, and engineering, with a 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, respectively, giving rise to varying levels of regulatory stringency during the leaders' 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.

She is working on a sequel to the first book on the emerging politics of local climate actions in China. She has also published articles in academic journals on the political economy of the environment, environmental attitudes and behaviors, environmental justice, and the integration of political factors into integrated assessment modeling.

Shen graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Swarthmore College and holds an M.S. in civil and environmental engineering and a Ph.D. in political science, both from Stanford University. For more information about her and her works, please visit http://svshen.com.

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