Can a simple experiment involving dropping off wallets at public places determine honesty? According to the Global Honesty Index, it can.
To determine global honesty, an experiment was carried out across 355 cities in 40 countries of the world. Kenya and Morocco were among the countries studied and they both did poorly.
Although the Africans countries were not the worst among the list of 40 countries, Morocco ranked 39th and Kenya ranked 36th.
The experiment was carried out by a team of international scientists.
The experiment showed that Switzerland and the Scandinavian nations were the most honest, while China, Morocco, Peru, and Kazakhstan closed the rankings.
France, however, followed close behind the Scandinavian countries coming in 10th place, Spain was in 14th place, while Morocco ranked 39th and China came at the bottom of the list.
The experiment, which cost Sh60 million ($600,000), is unparalleled in its magnitude, according to AFP.
As part of the experiment, research assistants placed more than 17,000 identical wallets in various establishments (hotels, banks, police stations, etc.) About 400 wallets were planted in each country.
On average, 40 percent of the wallets without money were returned, compared to 51 percent of those containing money.
Dishonesty apparently does not increase with the amount of money potentially gained, contradicting the vision of a human being purely motivated by money.
A remarkably similar phenomenon was observed in almost all countries: the more money the wallet contained, the more people contacted its owner.
“When there is money, people suddenly feel like they are stealing, and the feeling is even stronger when the amount increases,” says Christian Zünd, PhD student at the University of Zurich.”
The study sought to answer the question: Does the amount of cash in a lost wallet impact how likely a person is to return it?
To pull it off, the researchers dropped off more than 17,000 identical wallets at banks, cultural establishments like theaters and museums, post offices, hotels, and police stations or courts of law.
The wallet would be placed on the counter by the research assistant, who would deliver it to an employee telling them they had found it on the street but were in a hurry and had to go.
Each contained a grocery list, a key, and three business cards in the local language using fictitious but commonplace male names and an email address, signalling the owner was a local resident.
Some wallets had no money, while others contained the equivalent of $13.45, adjusted for purchasing power in the target country.
In your opinion, does this truly determine the honesty index of a country?
Header Image Credit: Daily Active Kenya