Shiran Victoria Shen, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

University of Virginia

Year of PhD: 2018

Country: United States (Virginia)

About Me:

Shiran Victoria Shen is a Stanford-trained political scientist and environmental engineer, seeking to improve understanding of how environmental change influences and is shaped by politics and policy.  From a comparative and interdisciplinary perspective, her recent research assesses the impact of local governance on air pollution regulation in the developing world, especially China.  She is currently Assistant Professor of Environmental Politics at UVA.  Her solo-authored research has received the Harold D. Lasswell Award (citation) and the Paul A. Sabatier Award from the American Political Science Association, the Ph.D. Dissertation Awardfrom the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management, and the Malcolm Jewell Award from the Southern Political Science Association.  She can be reached via email and found on Twitter @SVictoriaShen.

Research Interests

Environmental Policy

Energy And Climate Policy

Comparative Political Institutions

Asian Politics

Public Policy


Air Pollution

Climate Modeling

Machine Learning

Satellite Remote Sensing

Renewable Energy Politics

Environmental Governance

Countries of Interest






Journal Articles:

(2020) Environmental Justice in India: Incidence of Air Pollution from Coal-Fired Power Plants, Ecological Economics

Air pollution is a vexing problem for emerging countries that strike a delicate balance between environmental protection, health, and energy for growth. We examine these difficulties in a study of disparate levels of exposure to pollution from coal-fired power generation in India, a country with high levels of air pollution and large, marginalized populations. With data on coal plant locations, atmospheric conditions, and census demographics, we estimate exposure to coal plant emissions using models that predict particle transportation. We find that ethnic and poor populations are more likely to be exposed to coal pollution. However, this relationship is sometimes non-linear and follows an inverted u-shape similar to that of an Environmental Kuznets Curve. We theorize that this non-linear relationship is due to the exclusion of marginalized communities from both the negative and positive externalities of industrial development.

(2019) Public receptivity in China towards wind energy generators: A survey experimental approach, Energy Policy

China leads the world's wind energy market, but little has been written about public receptivity towards wind energy generators in China. To fill this gap, we pursue a survey experimental approach to examine explanations for receptivity based on evidence from OECD countries as well as the importance of public knowledge in augmenting public acceptance of wind energy generators in China. We find that Chinese respondents are sensitive to siting near their residences, to cost considerations when imposed on them directly, to wildlife externalities, and to noise from turbines. Interestingly, Chinese respondents seem to be concerned about radiation, a finding unprecedented in the literature, and are less assured by scientific assurances that radiation is not a problem. Instead, the Chinese central government is best suited to address concerns about this topic. Targeted information provision to the public can improve public knowledge about aspects of wind energy of concern. Hence, the Chinese central government can promote wind energy deployment not just because it is an authoritarian government determined to get things done, but also because it can provide relevant information to reduce potential public resistance.


(2019) Pricing Carbon to Contain Violence, The World Bank

Violence is destructive to social order, economic growth, and the human condition. The annual total cost of violence is estimated to be 11 percent of the world’s GDP. However, violence has rarely made its way into economic models. In the meantime, increasing scientific evidence points to an active link between climate change and the incidence of interpersonal and intergroup violence. This study connects the climate–economy and the climate–violence systems by putting forth a new method to internalize the costs of climate-induced violence in the established MERGE integrated assessment model. It finds that such internalization can double the optimal carbon price, a relationship that holds across different specifications regarding climate sensitivity, GDP growth rate, and the willingness to pay (WTP) to avoid nonmarket climate damages. Normatively, under the realistic assumption that the WTP is at 1 percent of regional income, the avoided costs from climate-induced violence in sub–Saharan Africa is modeled to reach 3.7 percent of the region’s GDP in 2200, a very significant figure for an area that is already riddled with underdevelopment and violence. The approach of this paper is a first for the modeling community, indicating directions for future research. For the policy community, this paper takes recent econometric findings to the next step toward understanding required for decisions.

Media Appearances:

Newspaper Quotes:

(2019) Caixin

Chinese Support Wind Turbines, Just Not in Their Backyard

Blog Posts:

(2020) American Political Science Association

The Harold D. Lasswell Award is presented annually by the American Political Science Association (APSA) to honor the best doctoral dissertation in the field of public policy.