Polls / August 21, 2013

If a shopkeeper gave you too much change, would you tell them?

About two-thirds of respondents to the latest eZonomics online poll would tell a shopkeeper if they had been given too much change, while the rest would not.

Here’s my two cents worth
In the book HOW, author Dov Sediman tells how a donut vendor in New York boosted sales by trusting customers to make their own change when buying.
In Indonesia, “honesty cafes” have been run without cashiers, wrote the New York Times and Forbes, with customers taking what they like and paying and taking their own change via boxes – with a wider goal of discouraging corruption.
So getting too much change when shopping may seem like a minor happening but these examples suggest it taps into a wider discussion about trust and honesty.
Behavioural economist Dan Ariely delves into the topics in his book The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty (one of 14 items picked by ING economists for their summer reading list this year).

Are people more honest than you think?
Economist Chris Dillow blogs for eZonomics about some of the roles trust plays in the economy.
One side is the “traditional economic view of people as rational and selfish”, as played out by untrustworthy sellers in the used car market.
But, blogs Dillow, other studies suggest the traditional view is “wrong” and people are inclined to trust others and to want their trust. He warns it can be exploited by fraudsters - but also reasons that trust plays an important role commerce and in making countries rich.


eZonomics team
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