But don’t lose it in China, Morocco or Peru. Fascinating bit of research reported by Jo Nova.
This was a fairly exhaustive study. The researchers changed the names, currency and languages in every country to try to make the wallet appear to belong to a local. They also tried to control for the use of security cameras, onlookers, and penalties. They cross correlated the data in so many ways. In the supplementary file they compared and controlled for email use, GDP, soil fertility, temperature, hotel ranking, geography, years of democracy, family ties, pathogens, and even rainfall. (Read the supplement file). Despite all these variables, mostly, the response was explained by people just being nice.
The researchers commented that a big motivator is that people don’t want to feel like they are stealing. This is called “theft aversion”. Imagine how good people are going to feel here in Australia when they find out their neighbours have been forced to pay for half their solar panels?