An international team of scientists tested people’s honesty in several countries and determined that Switzerland and the Scandinavian nations lead the list of most honest places, while Peru, Morocco and China arrived in the last three places.
“Researchers from the universities of Zurich, Michigan and Utah conducted field experiments in 355 cities in 40 countries around the world, where they tested the honesty of thousands of people to whom they entrusted thousands of ‘lost’ wallets”, El Comercio said.
The results, published in the journal Science, showed an important phenomenon: in almost all countries the higher the sum of money in the portfolio, the more people contacted the owner.
For this, the scientists left “lost” wallets with varying amounts of money in public and private places, and then measured whether the people who found them contacted the owner to return them.
In the global average, 40% of the wallets without money were returned, as well as 51% of those that contained money. Dishonesty apparently does not increase according to the potential amount of profit, which contradicts the vision of a human being motivated only by material interest.
“Additional data suggest that our main findings can be explained by a combination of altruistic concerns and an aversion to seeing oneself as a thief”, the study concluded.
Each wallet, in transparent plastic, generally contained three business cards (with a written email address), a shopping list and a key. Some had no money but most had the equivalent of about $13.45 US dollars adjusted to local currency, which is just over 44 soles in Peru.