When honesty is taken as the criteria to give remarks, India is rated among the least honest countries along with China, Japan and South Korea, says a important study, suggesting that people’s honesty varies significantly between countries.
The four least honest countries were found to be China, Japan, South Korea and India in the coin flip test among 1,500 participants from 15 countries.
The researchers from Norfolk-based University of East Anglia said, however, Asian countries were not significantly more dishonest than others in the quiz, where Japan had the lowest level of dishonesty.
According to study author Dr David Hugh-Jones, the difference between Asian and other countries in the coin flip can certainly be explained by cultural views specific to this type of test, such as attitudes to gambling, rather than differences in honesty as such.
In comparison to earlier periods in history, honesty is now less important to a country’s current economic growth, the findings suggests.
The countries studied – Brazil, China, Greece, Japan, Russia, Switzerland, Turkey, the United States, Argentina, Denmark, the United Kingdom, India, Portugal, South Africa, and South Korea — were chosen to provide a mix of regions, levels of development and levels of social trust.
For example, estimated dishonesty in the coin flip ranged from 3.4 percent in Britain to 70 percent in China.
In the quiz, respondents in Japan were the most honest, followed by Britain, while those in Turkey were the least truthful.
Amazingly, people were more pessimistic about the honesty of people in their own country than of people in other countries.
“One explanation for this could be that people are more exposed to news stories about dishonesty taking place in their own country than in others,” noted Dr Hugh-Jones, senior lecturer in economics.
Dr Hugh-Jones said there was increasing interest in the cultural and behavioural roots of economic development.
He found that while the honesty of countries related to their economic growth poor countries were less honest than rich ones this relationship was stronger for growth that took place before 1950.
“I suggest that the relationship between honesty and economic growth has been weaker over the past 60 years and there is little evidence for a link between current growth and honesty,” Dr Hugh-Jones pointed out.
Dr Hugh-Jones presented the findings at the London Experimental Workshop conference, hosted by Middlesex University London, on Sunday.