The presence of money in the wallet increased the chances of it being returned by 10%.
Lost a wallet recently? You are in good luck as half of the Indians are likely to return a wallet with money in it, a report said. However, India still ranks among the bottom countries for honesty as a large part of Indian populace is unlikely to return an empty wallet, the report by Science titled Civic honesty around the globe, observed. In India, only 20% of people tried to return wallets that did not have cash. In the global experiment conducted in over 40 countries on people’s honesty, Switzerland and Norway topped the honesty levels with more than 70% of those surveyed contacting the owners for returning the lost wallets.
The researchers at Science dropped over 17,000 wallets and “targeted the five to eight largest cities in a country,” Science said. “Our cross-country experiments return a remarkably consistent result: citizens were overwhelmingly more likely to report lost wallets with money than without,” Science further said in its report. Also, it was found that the presence of money in the wallet increased the chances of it being returned by 10%.
The report further said that the wallets could have been returned “perhaps because the amount was not large enough to be financially meaningful”. In order to check the assumption, the researchers increased the money in the wallets by seven-folds and found that the returning rates increased even further. Talking to professional economists about the results, only 29% of those consulted predicted the results accurately. This suggests that not just the general public but the experts are also cynical about other peoples’ motivations, the report said.
Not all countries are as honest as Switzerland and Norway. In China, only one in 10 people attempted to return the wallets. Poland, France, Serbia, Chile, Portugal, Ghana, Argentina and Peru are among the countries where people were found to be the least honest. The co-author of the report, Alain Cohn from the University of Michigan said that the wealth or inequality levels cannot explain the differences across countries. Cultural values, education levels and political systems play a key role as well, he added.