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Study of UEA shows India among least “truthful countries”

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Researchers from Norfolk-based University of East Anglia (UEA) led a study that people’s honesty varies significantly between countries under which people rate India among the least honest countries along with China, Japan and South Korea.

  • Dr Hugh-Jones presented the findings at the London Experimental Workshop conference, hosted by Middlesex University London.
  • The team examined whether people from different countries were more or less honest and how this related to a country’s economic development.

Study of UEA shows India among least honest countriesMethod of Study – Coin flip test
The coin flip test was done among 1,500 participants from 15 countries. Data from the tests was compared to estimate whether people from particular countries were more likely to tell the truth.

  • Firstly, they were asked to flip a coin and state whether it landed on “heads” or “tails” and if it landed on heads, they would be rewarded with $3 or $5.
  • Proportion reporting heads was more than 50% in a given country indicated that people were being dishonest.
  • The same participants were then asked to complete a quiz where they were again rewarded financially if they answered all questions correctly.

Estimated dishonesty in the coin flip ranged from 3.4% in Britain to 70% in China. In the quiz, respondents in Japan were the most honest, followed by Britain while Turkey was the least truthful.

Countries studied
Brazil, China, Greece, Japan, Russia, Switzerland, Turkey, the United States, Argentina, Denmark, the United Kingdom, India, Portugal, South Africa and South Korea.

  • The findings suggested that honesty is less important to a country’s current economic growth than during earlier periods in history.