From Improbable Research:
Cormac Herley (pictured here) attempted an engineering analysis of some of the people who shared the 2005 Ig Nobel Prize for literature.
(That prize was awarded to the Internet entrepreneurs of Nigeria, for creating and then using e-mail to distribute a bold series of short stories, thus introducing millions of readers to a cast of rich characters — General Sani Abacha, Mrs. Mariam Sanni Abacha, Barrister Jon A Mbeki Esq., and others — each of whom requires just a small amount of expense money so as to obtain access to the great wealth to which they are entitled and which they would like to share with the kind person who assists them.)
Herley’s study, which you can download, is:
“Why do Nigerian Scammers Say They are from Nigeria?“, Cormac Herley, Proc. WEIS 2012. Herley is based at Microsoft Research.