venerdì 26 settembre 2014

Ancora sulle spintarelle

Cosa c' è che non va?

1) Il problema della fiducia. Perché dovrei fidarmi di un burocrate? Non c' è nessun motivo. Eppure, se guardiamo alla nostra esperienza capita di essere rassicurati se, di fronte a decisioni imprtanti, il burocrate ci indica una strada, magari con l' aiuto di una leggina che ci "forzi". Ma questo avviene perché ci fidiamo di lui? Direi di no. Avviene perché, anche se dovessimo sbagliare, abbiamo la garanzia di essere in tanti, e quindi di poter contare su un aiutino dall' alto. Se il burocrate non ricoprisse un incarico governativo non ci fideremmo mai di lui.

2) La gente ama avere il controllo su quello che fa. Per questo i paternalisti sono tanto odiati. Gli psicologi doverebbero saperlo: costringere a certi comportamenti da un lato ci potrebbe anche rendere più felici ma dall' altro, facendoci perdere il controllo sulla nostra vita, ci rattrista.

It’s All for Your Own Good Jeremy Waldron

  • Esempio. a considerable number of people do not choose to enroll in a 401(k) plan and of those who do, many select levels of contribution that are far below what would be most advantageous to them. Why? Probably because of inertia.
  • Sunstein and Thaler suggested a partucular strategy. Instead of teaching people to overcome their inertia, we might take advantage of their inertia to solve the problem. Suppose we arrange things so that enrollment at some appropriate level of contribution is the default position—... Something has to be the default position; why not make it the position that accrues most to the employee’s benefit, “using inertia to increase savings rather than prevent savings”?
  • Come prendiamo le nostre decisioni?... For most cases the sensible thing is not to agonize but to use a rule of thumb—a heuristic is the technical term—to make the decision quickly.
  • Put a certain choice architecture together with a certain heuristic and you will get a certain outcome. That’s the basic equation. So, if you want a person to reach a desirable outcome and you can’t change the heuristic she’s following, then you have to meddle with the choice architecture,
  • Paternalism” is usually a dirty word in political philosophy: the nanny state passing regulations that restrict us for our own good...
  • Now, a nudger wouldn’t try anything so crass. If you ordered a soda in nudge-world, you would get a medium cup, no questions asked; you’d have to go out of your way to insist on a large one... Nudge and Why Nudge? are replete with examples like this.... And it is mild too because you can always opt out of a nudge.
  • The nudge. it can be used to promote socially responsible as well as individually rational outcomes. The tray-free policy in the cafeteria is one example. A nudge toward organ donation is another:
  • Soft paternalism for the consumer might therefore presuppose hard regulation for the retailer.
  • So what explains the hostility? Much of it is simple animus against big government, compounded by resentment of academics in office. But there is also a core of genuine worry,
  • Then there are those whom Sunstein refers to as “we.”We know this, we know that, and we know better about the way ordinary people make their choices. We are the law professors and the behavioral economists who (a) understand human choosing and its foibles much better than members of the first group and (b) are in a position to design and manipulate the architecture of the choices that face ordinary folk.
  • “For every bias identified for individuals, there is an accompanying bias in the public sphere.”... There is a new book by two British political scientists called The Blunders of Our Governments 2 that might serve as a useful companion to Why Nudge?
  • Come si risponde? he offers little more than reassurance that there actually are good-hearted and competent folks like himself in government:
  • I am afraid there is very little awareness in these books about the problem of trust.... it is not clear whether the regulators themselves are trustworthy... The mendacity of elected officials is legendary
  • Esoterismo. Government House utilitarianism was a moral philosophy that envisaged an elite who knew the moral truth and could put out simple rules for the natives (or ordinary people).... We(the governors) know that lying, for example, is sometimes justified, but we don’t want to let on to the natives,
  • Deeper even than this is a prickly concern about dignity. What becomes of the self-respect we invest in our own willed actions, flawed and misguided though they often are, when so many of our choices are manipulated to promote what someone else sees (perhaps rightly) as our best interest?... nudges as an affront to human dignity
  • Having said that, however, Sunstein seems happy to associate himself with those who maintain that dignity just equals autonomy... Sunstein’s second move is to equate autonomy and well-being
  • autonomy is just a preference like any other.
  • autonomy is just a surrogate for welfare—what people ultimately want is the promotion of their own well-being and it doesn’t really matter how that comes about.
  • Sunstein does acknowledge that people might feel infantilized by being nudged. He says that “people should not be regarded as children; they should be treated with respect.”But saying that is not enough.
  • Nudging doesn’t teach me not to use inappropriate heuristics or to abandon irrational intuitions... maybe I am unteachable?
  • For example: between 15 and 20 percent of regular smokers (let’s say men sixty years old, who have smoked a pack a day for forty years) will die of lung cancer. But regulators don’t publicize that number, even though it ought to frighten people away from smoking, because they figure that some smokers may irrationally take shelter in the complementary statistic of the 80–85
  • Sunstein says he is committed to transparency,... Ma...There are about 112 million self-reported episodes of alcohol-impaired driving among adults in the US each year.... There are about 112 million self-reported episodes of alcohol-impaired driving among adults in the US each year. Yet in 2010, the number of people who were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes (10,228) was an order of magnitude lower than that... 0.009 percent of drunk drivers cause fatal accidents