Study: Altruism, Civic Honesty Prevail Over Financial Temptations

Study: Altruism, Civic Honesty Prevail Over Financial Temptations

Civic honesty and altruism were found to be prevailing over financial temptations, a new study indicated.

The research focused on the intersection of economics and psychology and examined common behaviors in 355 cities across 40 countries.

Switzerland and Norway topped the honesty list, while Peru, Morocco and China came in the bottom three.

Overall, researchers found that more people tend to report lost wallets, and that wallets with money, as opposed to no money, boosted reporting rates.

The global average for reporting a lost wallet was 40 percent, which grew to 51 percent when it had money.

"The evidence suggests that people tend to care about the welfare of others and they have an aversion to seeing themselves as a thief," co-author Alain Cohn from the University of Michigan said.

"Our results suggest that even experts tend to have cynical intuitions about other people's motivations, often exaggerating the role of financial incentives and underestimating the role of psychological forces," Cohn noted.

Results of the study revealed that countries which are more democratic and where citizens consider themselves part of the decision-making process tend to score higher on civic honesty.