The University of Chicago Crime Lab – Mobile Development Opportunity

Who are they?

The University of Chicago Crime Lab seeks to improve our understanding of how to reduce crime and violence by helping government agencies and non-profit organizations rigorously evaluate promising policies and interventions to make them as informative as possible. Their goal is to assemble a portfolio of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to generate new evidence about what works, for whom, and why, and to conduct benefit-cost analyses of different interventions to enable policymakers to prioritize resources for the combination of strategies that achieve the greatest social good per dollar spent. Crime Lab projects evaluate ways to help make the criminal justice system more effective and fair, and try to identify tools from social policy, education, and behavioral economics to prevent crime from happening in the first place and to improve outcomes for the most disadvantaged populations. In addition to carrying out RCTs and other research on crime and violence, the University of Crime Lab since its inception has also provided extensive pro bono technical assistance to government agencies in Chicago looking for rigorous data analysis and research support. The nature of our work as partners with city agencies requires adjusting to the pace of policymakers’ work. This way of working is atypical for most research organizations, but gives them an unprecedented opportunity to partner with policymakers to help them maximize the positive impact of policies and programs that can improve lives. For more information about the University of Chicago Crime Lab, see attached documents or go to

The Project

Chicago youth have many opportunities to participate in programs designed to reduce the risks posed to them, yet many of these programs face difficulties in recruiting to capacity. There could be many reasons why these programs are not well attended. Even if at-risk youth are aware that social programs exist, such options might not come to mind when figuring out what to do in their free time. If particular youth tend to spend their free time in unstructured, unsafe activities, these will probably be what they end up doing, by force of habit. Unless nudged to do otherwise, they will default into what they usually do, which in the particular context of at-risk youth in Chicago might often be unsafe activities. We offer a potential solution to address this challenge by presenting relevant information, on existing programs and productive activities (sports, music, etc.), to youth in an accessible and compelling way, through a mobile app that leverages insights from behavioral economics, behavioral science, and psychology to act on the potentially life- changing dangerous activities Chicago youth tend to default into. We are looking to turn our web based prototype into iOS and Android apps to boost usage from our target population. We are looking to have an end product by mid-February 2016. Qualifications • iOS development • Android development • User Interface If interested send resume and cover letter to acastiglione.

See attached PDFs describing the opportunities for student internship / involvement.


Dangerous Defaults.pdf