Academic Appointments

  • Sr Research Scholar, Precourt Institute for Energy

Honors & Awards

  • Early Career Research Award, International Public Policy Association (2023)
  • National Fellowship, Hoover Institution, Stanford University (2021-2022)
  • Harold D. Lasswell Award, American Political Science Association (2020)
  • PhD Dissertation Award, Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (2019)
  • Malcolm Jewell Award, Southern Political Science Association (2018)
  • Phi Beta Kappa Scholarship, Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Association (2018)
  • Paul A. Sabatier Best Conference Paper Award, Science, Technology & Environmental Politics Section, American Political Science Association (2017)
  • Dissertation Fellowship, Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy (2016)
  • Asia-Pacific Scholarship ("modeled on Oxford's Rhodes Scholarship"), Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University (2013-2015)
  • Trans-Pacific Essay Contest First Prize, Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs (2013)
  • High Honors, Swarthmore College (2012)
  • Phi Beta Kappa, Swarthmore College (2012)
  • Sigma Xi, Swarthmore College (2012)
  • Kennedy Scholarship (full scholarship--extremely rare for international applicants), Swarthmore College (2008-2012)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Program Chair, Environmental Politics and Policy Section, Midwest Political Science Association (2021 - 2021)
  • External Examiner, Honors Program, Swarthmore College (2018 - 2018)

Professional Education

  • Ph.D., Stanford University, Political Science (2018)
  • M.S., Stanford University, Civil and Environmental Engineering (2017)
  • B.A., Swarthmore College, Political Science; Environmental Studies (2012)

2022-23 Courses

All Publications

  • Social competition drives collective action to reduce informal waste burning in Uganda. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Buntaine, M. T., Komakech, P., Shen, S. V. 2024; 121 (23): e2319712121


    Improving urban air quality is a pressing challenge in the Global South. A key source of air pollution is the informal burning of household waste. Reducing informal burning requires governments to develop formal systems for waste disposal and for residents to adopt new disposal behaviors. Using a randomized experiment, we show that social competitions between pairs of neighborhoods in Nansana municipality, Uganda, galvanized leadership and inspired collective action to reduce informal burning. All 44 neighborhoods in the study received a public health campaign, while 22 treated neighborhoods were paired and competed to reduce waste burning over an 8-mo period. Treated neighborhoods showed a 24 percent reduction (95% CI: 11 to 35 percent) in waste burning relative to control neighborhoods at the end of the competition period. There is no evidence that treated neighborhoods experienced a rebound in waste burning several months after the competitions. Community leaders reported greater effort in coordinating residents and more pride in their neighborhood when assigned to the competition treatment. These results suggest that creating focal points for leadership and collective action can be an effective and low-cost strategy to address policy problems that require broad participation and costly behavior change.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.2319712121

    View details for PubMedID 38805276

  • Integrating Political Science into Climate Modeling: An Example of Internalizing the Costs of Climate-Induced Violence in the Optimal Management of the Climate SUSTAINABILITY Shen, S. 2021; 13 (19)
  • Environmental Justice in India: Incidence of Air Pollution from Coal-Fired Power Plants ECOLOGICAL ECONOMICS Kopas, J., York, E., Jin, X., Harish, S. P., Kennedy, R., Shen, S., Urpelainen, J. 2020; 176
  • The effects of behavioral intention on the choice to purchase energy-saving appliances in China: the role of environmental attitude, concern, and perceived psychological benefits in shaping intention ENERGY EFFICIENCY Liao, X., Shen, S., Shi, X. 2020; 13 (1): 33-49
  • Public receptivity in China towards wind energy generators: A survey experimental approach ENERGY POLICY Shen, S., Cain, B. E., Hui, I. 2019; 129: 619–27
  • When reduced working time harms the environment: A panel threshold analysis for EU-15, 1970-2010 JOURNAL OF CLEANER PRODUCTION Shao, Q., Shen, S. 2017; 147: 319-329