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Truth-Revealing Mechanisms for Courts

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  • Robert Cooter

    (University of California)

  • Winand Emons

    (University of Bern)

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 truth-revealing mechanism. More importantly, we develop a perfect truth-revealing mechanism. 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

Paper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers with number 0211.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2000
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Handle: RePEc:ecm:wc2000:0211

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Robert Thornton & John Ward, 1999. "The Economist in Tort Litigation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 101-112, Spring.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  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. Sanford J Grossman & Oliver D Hart, 2001. "An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem," Levine's Working Paper Archive 391749000000000339, David K. Levine.
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Winand Emons, 2001. "Perjury versus Truth-Revelation: Quantity or Quality of Testimony," Diskussionsschriften dp0103, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
  3. Winand Emons & Claude Fluet, 2005. "The Optimal Amount of Falsified Testimony," Cahiers de recherche 0520, CIRPEE.
  4. Winand Emons & Claude Fluet, 2007. "Accuracy versus Falsification Costs: The optimal Amount of Evidence under different Procedures," Diskussionsschriften dp0702, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
  5. Roland Hodler & Simon Loertscher & Dominic Rohner, 2010. "Biased experts, costly lies, and binary decisions," IEW - Working Papers 496, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  6. Dominique Demougin & Claude Fluet, 2002. "Preponderance of Evidence," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 150, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
  7. Miller, James D., 2001. "Perjury and information weighting," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 329-341, September.
  8. Friehe, Tim, 2009. "Screening accident victims," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 272-280, September.

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