Helsinki is the most honest city in the world, according to a new study carried out by Reader’s Digest .
The magazine dropped 192 wallets around the world in 16 different cities to see what would happen. Each wallet contained the equivalent of $50, plus a telephone number, a family photo, coupons and business cards.
The city to return the most? Helsinki. Finland’s capital city brought back 11 of the 12 “lost” wallets, which were left in parks, near shopping centres and on pavements.
“Finns are naturally honest,” said Lasse Luomakoski, a 27-year-old businessman who returned one of them. “We are a small, quiet, closely-knit community. We have little corruption, and we don’t even run red lights.”
Mumbai came in close second with 9 of the 12 wallets returned, ahead of Budapest in Hungary, where 8 of 12 were returned.
“I remember being in a car, when my dad noticed a wallet by the side of the road,” one 17 year old student explained. “When we reached the owner he was very grateful: Without the papers in the wallet he would have had to postpone his wedding which was to take place the very same day!”
Reader’s Digest continued: “However, a woman in her early sixties opened the wallet, and then entered a nearby building. We never heard from her.”
New York also returned 8 out of 12 wallets, followed by Moscow and Amsterdam (7) and Berlin and Ljubljana (6).
Londoners returned 5 of the 12 wallets, alongside Warsaw in Poland.
The least honest city was Lisbon, which returned only 1 of the 12 wallets, just behind Madrid, where 2 were returned. The one wallet that was returned was not even returned by locals: they were a couple visiting from Holland.
In total, 47 per cent were returned. The surprising conclusions include that there is no set pattern to those who return lost wallets.
“Age is no predictor of whether a person is going to be honest or dishonest; young and old both kept or returned wallets; male and female were unpredictable; and comparative wealth seemed no guarantee of honesty.”
The bottom line? “There are honest and dishonest people everywhere.”