Newspaper Aftenposten conducted another “lost wallet test” in and around Oslo earlier this month, and could report that the return rate was a fairly good sign of residents’ honesty.
The newspaper dropped 20 wallets in places as diverse as the sidewalk outside a grocery store in suburban Bekkestua to a bench outside the Norwegian Parliament and a locker room at a gym in Grünerløkka.
The wallets all contained a DNB bank card, NOK 300 in cash plus assorted coins, a commuter pass on the local train system and the business cards of an Aftenposten journalist, among other items. The wallets were placed around town between November 6 and November 12.
Fully 15 of the wallets were returned, 12 of them intact. The three others lacked some of the cash but otherwise were intact as well. The finders ranged from an 11-year-old girl in Manglerud on Oslo’s east side to several persons in their 20s and 30s to a 79-year-old man, who found one of the wallets lying on the sidewalk at the Romsås metro station.
A similar test was conducted by Reader’s Digest magazine in 1996, and in that case, all the wallets were returned in Oslo. This month’s return rate of 15 out of 20 was considered respectable by a professor at the University of Oslo.
“It’s quite wonderful that folks in so many various situations and locations take the trouble to contact a complete stranger to return their wallet,” Karine Nyborg, a professor of social economics, told Aftenposten. The newspaper noted that Norway also topped a “World Values Survey” in 2009, in which 74 percent of Norwegians questioned said they thought most people could be relied upon.