Today's Journal

FINDING A LOST WALLET

"When wallets had money in them…we went in thinking that people were going to be less likely to return these wallets," said David Tannenbaum, one of the researchers on the project. "Much to our surprise when the research came back, it had done the exact opposite – people were more likely to return the wallet when it had money in it. We couldn't believe it."
Tannenbaum, a professor of management at the University of Utah, and three other researchers from the United States and Switzerland tested out this theory in 40 different countries across the globe to get comparable results on human behavior when it came to honesty.

They visited between five and eight large cities in each country and left 17,000 wallets to see if they were returned. Each wallet was transparent so people wouldn't have to open it to examine the contents, which included three identical business cards to indicate the owner, a key, a grocery list and a varied range of local currency. Research assistants then left them with an employee at a local bank, theater, museum, post office, hotel, police station or court of law and asked them to "take care of it," saying they found the wallet but were in too much of a hurry to track down the owner.

The wallets contained either no cash or the equivalent of $13.45 U.S. dollars. The wallet was returned 11% more often when it had money inside. However, researchers thought the high return rate might be because there wasn't a significant amount of money in order for the employee to keep it, so in the United States, United Kingdom and Poland, they added a third variable – the equivalent of $94.15, or seven times the original amount. Wallets containing the largest amount of money were returned 72% of the time, 11% more than the $13.45 wallets and 26% more than the cashless wallets. Switzerland and some of the Nordic countries such as Denmark and Finland had the highest return rate while countries like China, Morocco and Peru had the lowest. The United States ranked in the middle.”

“You shall not steal.” Jesus