Lose Your Wallet? Hope There Was Cash In It

Chances are good you'll get it back

Lose your wallet?

If there’s cash in it chances are good you’ll get it back.

Researchers planted 17,000 lost wallets across 355 cities in 40 countries to see what would happen.

More than half (51 percent) cent of those with cash (the equivalent of $13) in them were returned, while just 40 percent of those without cash in them were not. When researchers raised the stakes to $94 in the U.S., the United Kingdom and Poland the response jumped to 72 percent.

The wallets in the study were transparent business card cases so people could see the money inside without opening them. Research assistants posed as people who had just found the cases, who then turned them in at banks, theaters, museums or other cultural establishments, post offices, hotels and police stations or other public offices to see if the employee receiving each case would contact its supposed owner.

One study author says the evidence suggests people are genuinely concerned about the welfare of others and have an aversion to seeing themselves as a thief.

banner image via Flickr