Indonesia has launched an interesting experiment to teach its young to be honest. It is opening a chain of honesty cafes where there will be no cashiers. Customers are expected to pick up whatever snack they want and drop the requisite money in an open plastic box. The idea is to make young Indonesians think hard about cheating and honesty.
A similar example has been described in Freakonomics, the popular book by Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, in the parable of the bagel seller who leaves behind bagels and a collection box at various offices in New York, hoping his consumers will not cheat. They do not. Few deceive and help themselves to a free bagel.
But there is also research about how diplomats in corrupt countries tend to not pay their parking tickets in the US. Two economists have shown that the number of unpaid tickets by diplomats is a fine proxy for corruption levels in a country.
Honour systems work at times—but not always. We wonder: Would honesty cafes be successful in India?