AbstractWitness intimidation involves strategic complexity and two-sided uncertainty: criminals cannot know whether threats will deter witnesses, and witnesses cannot know whether threats will be carried out. We model this interaction and explore how rates of intimidation, testimony, and conviction respond to changes in the value of testimony, relations between the police and the community, and witness protection programs. If the value of testimony rises, criminals face stronger incentives to threaten, but threats are less credible. The increase in threats may be large enough to offset the greater value of testimony, with the paradoxical outcome that fewer criminals are convicted. Counterintuitive results are most likely when witness intimidation is a severe problem: few witnesses testify although prosecutors are competent. When the harm faced by witnesses depends on whether the criminal is convicted, communities can be trapped in equilibria with collective silence: no witness testifies because none expects others to testify.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal The Journal of Legal Studies.
Volume (Year): 39 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 399 - 432
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLS/
Other versions of this item:
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Brendan O'Flaherty & Rajiv Sethi, 2007.
"Peaceable kingdoms and war zones: Pre-emption, ballistics and murder in Newark,"
0708-02, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
- Brendan O’Flaherty & Rajiv Sethi, 2010. "Peaceable Kingdoms and War Zones: Preemption, Ballistics and Murder in Newark," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of Crime: Lessons for and from Latin America, pages 305-353 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Journals Division).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.