Monday, June 24, 2019

Are most humans selfish, or honest?

What would you do if you found a wallet stuffed with cash. Would you keep it, or try to return it?A team of economists recently conducted a mass social experiment involving 17,000 "lost" wallets in 40 countries.

Most wallet drops were in public places in large cities, with about 400 observations per country. Each wallet contained no money, or a small amount of money, or a lot of money, along with a grocery list and the owner's business card. Overall, 51% of people who found a wallet with a small amount of money reported it, compared with 40% of those who found an empty wallet. When a wallet contained a large sum, the return rate was 72%. There were some surprising non-returns. Wallets dropped off at the Vatican, and at two anti-corruption bureaus, never were returned. But almost universally, wallets with more valuable contents were likely to be returned.

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