Randomizing for evil

The UK government pioneered the Behavioural Insights Team a unit that uses behavioral economics, psychology, and experiments to nudge people in important policy directions. There are now similar units in the White House and the World Bank.

Sound great to libertarian paternalists like me. And then, Aid thoughts points us to BIT’s latest update:

BIT has been working with the Home Office to consider new measures to help illegal migrants to voluntarily return home, focusing initially on engagement at reporting centres. Reporting centres are seen as an important but underutilised opportunity to prompt illegal migrants to consider whether leaving the UK voluntarily would be a preferable option in their circumstances.

…At this stage, the precise scope of a trial is still being finalised, with the aim to combine a number of behavioural elements to create a distinct reporting centre experience that encourages members of the reporting population to consider voluntary departure as an alternative to their current situation.