Wensong Shen

Faculty Advisors: 

Emily Hannum (Chair), Paul Allison, Jason Schnittker, Xinyin Chen (Penn GSE)

Research Interests: 

Social Stratification, Education, Health, Family, Children and Youth, Environment, Contemporary China, Quantitative Methods


Wensong Shen is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, with a dual M.A. degree in Statistics from the Wharton School. His research primarily focuses on education and health, especially the interaction between education and health in the context of social stratification and inequality. Broadly speaking, he utilizes quantitative methods to explore how individuals and families with different social backgrounds experience the complex process of social stratification, and how such experiences shape their life opportunities and consequences such as education and health. His dissertation tackles the complex relationships between depression, behavioral problems, and educational outcomes, with a focus on identifying reciprocal pathways over time by using Structural Equation Modeling to analyze three large-scale datasets – the China Family Panel Studies (CFPS, 2010, 2012, 2014), the China Education Panel Survey (CEPS, 2013-2014), and the Gansu Survey of Children and Families (GSCF, 2000, 2004, 2009, 2015).

He has published several articles on peer-reviewed journals like Social Science Research, Social Inclusion, and the Chinese Journal of Sociology. He also has a chapter published in the peer-reviewed book Rural Education in China’s Social Transition by Routledge and a professional report submitted to UNESCO as its Background Paper for Global Education Monitoring Report 2019. His current studies concentrate on China, for the reason that China as the most populous country in the world is undergoing rapid social change which provides valuable data for the development of social theories. Meanwhile, he adopts an international perspective and works on several projects using worldwide datasets like Leader Experience and Attribute Descriptions (LEAD) and U.S. datasets like General Social Survey (GSS). In addition to research, he also leads or helps with several data collection projects on education, environmental pollution, and child development in China. Before coming to Penn, he received a B.A. degree in International Politics from Shandong University and a Master degree in Translation from Peking University in China.

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