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Perjury versus Truth-Revelation: Quantity or Quality of Testimony

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  • Winand Emons

Abstract

In trials witnesses often slant their testimony to advance their interests.To obtain truthful testimony, courts rely on perjury rules. We show that perjury rules are not truth-revealing and we derive a truth-revealing mechanism for the same set of restrictions under which perjury rules operate. If the judge uses a truth-revealing mechanism, he will get less testimony than under perjury because the defendant will not present a witness with unfavorable news; however, testimony is of higher quality. We show that a court striving for precision prefers truth-revelation to perjury. If the court is rational in the Bayesian sense, chances for the defendant to prevail are the same under perjury and truth-revelation from an ex ante point of view. Truth-revelation thus dominates perjury even when the lower quantity of testimony is taken into account.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft in its series Diskussionsschriften with number dp0103.

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Date of creation: Sep 2001
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Handle: RePEc:ube:dpvwib:dp0103

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Keywords: litigation process; witness; truth-revelation; mechanism design; perjury rule;

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  1. 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.
  2. Winand Emons, 1993. "The Provision of Environmental Protection Measures under Incomplete Information: An Introduction to the Theory of Mechanism Design," Diskussionsschriften dp9310, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
  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. Bernardo, Antonio E & Talley, Eric & Welch, Ivo, 2000. "A Theory of Legal Presumptions," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(1), pages 1-49, April.
  5. 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.
  6. Robert Thornton & John Ward, 1999. "The Economist in Tort Litigation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 101-112, Spring.
  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.
  9. Paul R. Milgrom & John Roberts, 1985. "Relying on the Information of Interested Parties," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 749, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  10. Lipman Barton L. & Seppi Duane J., 1995. "Robust Inference in Communication Games with Partial Provability," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 370-405, August.
  11. 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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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Friedel Bolle & Matthew Braham, . "A Difficulty with Oaths: On Trust, Trustworthiness, and Signalling," German Working Papers in Law and Economics 2003-1-1055, Berkeley Electronic Press.

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