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The world’s least honest cities

We all have those moments when we realise that we’ve dropped our wallets or left them in a shop or bar. Sometimes you go back and check and find that it is still where you left it. Other times you find some kind soul has handed it in. However, most of us are not so lucky and find that it has simply disappeared forever.

In order to test whether or not location played any part in how likely any of the above scenarios are, Readers Digest carried out a survey where they ‘dropped’ wallets in 16 cities across the world. Each one contained the equivalent of $50, a mobile phone number, cards, coupons and a family photo.

The overall result may astound you. Around half (47%) of all the wallets were returned. The survey also found that there is no real correlation between honesty and gender, race, age or religion. The likelihood of return depended solely on the individual.

So, which city was the most honest? Well, top of the list was Helsinki, Finland where eleven out of twelve wallets were handed in or returned. Mumbai, India was the second most honest city tested and Budapest, Hungary came in an honourable third. Bottom of the list was Lisbon, Portugal, where only one in twelve wallets were returned and this by a couple visiting from the Netherlands. Also performing poorly were Madrid, Zurich, Prague and Rio de Janeiro, all places where less than a third of the wallets were returned.

So what have we learned from all this? Well, Raimo Moysa, editor-in-chief of Reader's Digest International Magazines said: “The most surprising discovery for the team at Reader's Digest is that honesty is not a relative. For all the people who returned wallets, it was the only way to act in such a situation.” We also learned that despite people being far more honest than we imagine, you can never depend on the fact that if you lose something you will get it back. Which is why travel insurance is always essential if you go on holiday.

Date Created: 27 September 2013

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