Lucas Shen Y.S.

Brief bio

Research Fellow at Asia Competitiveness Institute, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, at the National University of Singapore. My PhD is from the economics division of Nanyang Technological University. My pipeline of projects draw from simple applications of ML, NLP, and GIS in working with unstructured real-world data.

Thesis Papers

Measuring Political Media Slant Using Text Data
[Draft, Data appendix]

This paper explores a novel and objective measure of political media slant using the aid of natural language processing and machine learning. Implementing this approach in the institutional context of Singapore, the paper finds that The Straits Times, the flagship daily, is less accurate when quoting the parliamentary speeches of opposition politicians.

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Substring accuracy across time
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Effect Sizes

Women on Boards and Financial Outcomes: Evidence from the Singapore Exchange

In this paper, I exploit the institutional context of Singapore to estimate the effect of board gender diversity on firm performance using a sample from 2000 to 2017. To address endogeneity concerns, I instrument the number of women on board using the increase in women political participation and private firms' differential links to the government. The evidence suggest that having more women in the boardroom does not affect profitability, firm value, or systematic risk.

Women's Wave or the Blue Wave: The Me Too Movement and the 2018 U.S. Midterm Elections
[Draft, old version]

In this paper I download all tweets containing the MeToo hashtag in the year 2018 leading up to the midterm elections in November, and parse the geolocation tags of the tweeters. With the county level density measure of the tweets in 2018, I test whether the movement can explain the historic performance of women candidates in the 2018 U.S. House elections.

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Conditional plot
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Higher prob. of Dem. woman candidates

Working Papers

International Trafficking in Persons and Global Health Security: Evidence from Two Modern Pandemics

Does Working from Home Work? A Natural Experiment From Open-Source Software Development and Lockdowns
[Draft available on request] [Online appendix]

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Event study
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Event study w user controls
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Treatment arms

Neighborhood Mismatch and Visits in a Small City
(with LIM Jing Zhi)

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Scale & borders
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Two neighbourhoods (Mount Pleasant & Toa Payoh Central)
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Work in Progress

Social Exposure Zones in a Small City
(with LIM Jing Zhi)

Productivity and Population in a Young Megalopolis: A Data-Driven Case Study of the Greater Bay Area
(with LI Jingwei and ZHANG Xuyao)

Does Typing Louder in the Office Make You More Productive? Evidence from $100 Keyboards

Other Projects

Unexpected Shocks to Movement and Job Search: Evidence from COVID-19 Policies in Singapore Using Google Data [Draft]

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Early changes (anomalies) in movement patterns
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Lockdown announcement effect
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Early changes in job searches


I use Python for my research work, and have benefited extensively from open-source libraries in the Python ecosystem. As a tiny contribution I wrote Leixcal richness, which I use to generate proxies for language sophistication in my research.