Researchers ‘Lost’ 17,000 Wallets in Hundreds of Cities to See What People Would Actually Return
Plenty of people around the world, it turns out, are willing to return a stranger’s lost wallet—especially if it’s filled with cash, according to a counterintuitive study.
The study, published in the journal Science on Thursday, was a meticulous social experiment that took three years and over half a million dollars to complete.
A group of 13 research assistants (11 men and 2 women) were recruited for a trip around the world. They traveled to 355 major cities across 40 countries. In each city, they visited banks, theaters, hotels, police stations, and other public spaces and turned in a “lost wallet,” which they claimed to have found on the street, to a nearby employee.