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Truth-Revealing Mechanisms for Courts

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  • Robert Cooter
  • Winand Emons

Abstract

In trials witnesses often slant their testimony in order to advance their own interests. To obtain truthful testimony, the law relies on cross-examination under threat of prosecution for perjury. We show that perjury law is an imperfect truthrevealing mechanism. Moreover, we develop a truth-revealingmechanism for the same set of restrictions under which perjury rules operate. Under this mechanism the witness is sanctioned if a court eventually finds that the testimony was incorrect; the court need not determine that testimony was dishonest. We explain how truth-revealing mechanisms could combat distortions of observations by factual witnesses and exaggerations by experts, including "junk science".

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen in its journal Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics.

Volume (Year): 159 (2003)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 259-

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Handle: RePEc:mhr:jinste:urn:sici:0932-4569(200306)159:2_259:tmfc_2.0.tx_2-i

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. Holmstrom, Bengt & Myerson, Roger B, 1983. "Efficient and Durable Decision Rules with Incomplete Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(6), pages 1799-819, November.
  3. 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.
  4. Robert Thornton & John Ward, 1999. "The Economist in Tort Litigation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 101-112, Spring.
  5. 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.
  6. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1983. "An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(1), pages 7-45, January.
  7. 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.
  8. Roger B. Myerson, 1983. "Bayesian Equilibrium and Incentive-Compatibility: An Introduction," Discussion Papers 548, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Winand Emons, 2005. "Perjury versus Truth Revelation: Quantity or Quality of Testimony," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 161(3), pages 392-, September.
  2. Roland Hodler & Simon Loertscher & Dominic Rohner, 2010. "Biased Experts, Costly Lies, and Binary Decisions," Working Papers 10.01, Swiss National Bank, Study Center Gerzensee.
  3. Winand Emons & Claude Fluet, 2007. "Accuracy versus Falsification Costs: the Optimal Amount of Evidence under Different Procedures," Cahiers de recherche 0703, CIRPEE.
  4. Miller, James D., 2001. "Perjury and information weighting," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 329-341, September.
  5. Demougin, Dominique & Fluet, Claude, 2006. "Preponderance of evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 963-976, May.
  6. Cooter, Robert D. & Emons, Winand, 2000. "Truth-Bonding and Other Truth-Revealing Mechanisms for Courts," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt35j9s08h, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
  7. Friehe, Tim, 2009. "Screening accident victims," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 272-280, September.
  8. Emons, Winand & Fluet, Claude, 2005. "The Optimal Amount of Falsified Testimony," CEPR Discussion Papers 5124, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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