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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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  1. Bengt Holmstrom & Roger B. Myerson, 1981. "Efficient and Durable Decision Rules with Incomplete Information," Discussion Papers 495, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. Sanford Grossman & Oliver Hart, . "An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 15-80, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  3. Emons,Winand & Sobel,Joel, 1988. "On the effectiveness of liability rules when agents are not identical," Discussion Paper Serie A 212, University of Bonn, Germany.
  4. 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.
  5. Robert Thornton & John Ward, 1999. "The Economist in Tort Litigation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 101-112, Spring.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. Miller, James D., 2001. "Perjury and information weighting," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 329-341, September.
  2. Winand Emons, 2001. "Perjury versus Truth-Revelation: Quantity or Quality of Testimony," Diskussionsschriften dp0103, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
  3. Emons, Winand & Fluet, Claude, 2005. "The Optimal Amount of Falsified Testimony," CEPR Discussion Papers 5124, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Friehe, Tim, 2009. "Screening accident victims," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 272-280, September.
  5. Dominique Demougin & Claude Fluet, 2002. "Preponderance of Evidence," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 150, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
  6. Claude Fluet, 2009. "Accuracy Versus Falsification Costs: The Optimal Amount of Evidence under Different Procedures," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(1), pages 134-156, May.
  7. Roland Hodler & Simon Loertscher & Dominic Rohner, 2010. "Biased Experts, Costly Lies, and Binary Decisions," Working Papers 10.01, Swiss National Bank, Study Center Gerzensee.
  8. Robert Cooter & Winand Emons, 2004. "Truth-Bonding and Other Truth-Revealing Mechanisms for Courts," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 307-327, May.

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