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Truth-Bonding and Other Truth-Revealing Mechanisms for Courts

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  • Robert Cooter

    ()

  • Winand Emons

    ()

Abstract

In trials witnesses often gain by slanting their testimony. The law tries to elicit the truth from witnesses by cross-examination under threat of criminal prosecution for perjury. As a truth-revealing mechanism, perjury law is crude and ineffective. We develop the mathematical form of a perfect truth-revealing mechanism, which exactly offsets the gain from slanted testimony by the risk of a possible sanction. Implementing an effective truth-revealing mechanism requires a witness to certify accuracy by posting bond. If events subsequently prove that the testimony was inaccurate, the witness forfeits the bond. By providing superior incentives for telling the truth, truth-bonding could combat some distortions by factual witnesses and interested experts, including “junk scienceâ€.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1023/B:EJLE.0000028643.10059.9f
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal European Journal of Law and Economics.

Volume (Year): 17 (2004)
Issue (Month): 3 (May)
Pages: 307-327

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Handle: RePEc:kap:ejlwec:v:17:y:2004:i:3:p:307-327

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100264

Related research

Keywords: litigation; witness; truth-revealing mechanism; perjury;

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References

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  1. Michael J. Mandel, 1999. "Going for the Gold: Economists as Expert Witnesses," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 113-120, Spring.
  2. Antonio Bernardo & Eric L. Talley & Ivo Welch, 1999. "A Theory of Legal Presumptions," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm118, Yale School of Management.
  3. Winand Emons, 2001. "Perjury versus Truth-Revelation: Quantity or Quality of Testimony," Diskussionsschriften dp0103, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
  4. Steven Shavell & A. Mitchell Polinsky, 2000. "The Economic Theory of Public Enforcement of Law," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 45-76, March.
  5. Claude Fluet, 2002. "Enforcing Contracts: Should Courts Seek the Truth?," CIRANO Working Papers 2002s-76, CIRANO.
  6. Robert Cooter & Winand Emons, 2003. "Truth-Revealing Mechanisms for Courts," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 159(2), pages 259-, June.
  7. Emons, Winand, 1994. "The provision of environmental protection measures under incomplete information: An introduction to the theory of mechanism design," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 479-491, December.
  8. Hurwicz, Leonid, 1973. "The Design of Mechanisms for Resource Allocation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(2), pages 1-30, May.
  9. Emons, Winand & Sobel, Joel, 1991. "On the Effectiveness of Liability Rules when Agents Are Not Identical," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 375-90, April.
  10. Richard A. Posner, 1999. "The Law and Economics of the Economic Expert Witness," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 91-99, Spring.
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Cited by:
  1. Cooter, Robert & Garoupa, Nuno, 2000. "The Virtuous Circle of Distrust: A Mechanism to Deter Bribes and Other Cooperative Crimes," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt83c0k3wc, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
  2. Winand Emons, 2001. "Perjury versus Truth-Revelation: Quantity or Quality of Testimony," Diskussionsschriften dp0103, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.

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