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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".

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Cooter & Winand Emons, 2003. "Truth-Revealing Mechanisms for Courts," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 159(2), pages 259-259, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:mhr:jinste:urn:sici:0932-4569(200306)159:2_259:tmfc_2.0.tx_2-i
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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. Holmstrom, Bengt & Myerson, Roger B, 1983. "Efficient and Durable Decision Rules with Incomplete Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(6), pages 1799-1819, November.
    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. 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.
    6. Claude Fluet, 2003. "Enforcing Contracts: Should Courts Seek the Truth?," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 159(1), pages 1-49, March.
    7. 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.
    8. Robert Thornton & John Ward, 1999. "The Economist in Tort Litigation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 101-112, Spring.
    9. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1983. "An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(1), pages 7-45, January.
    10. Daughety, Andrew F & Reinganum, Jennifer F, 2000. "On the Economics of Trials: Adversarial Process, Evidence, and Equilibrium Bias," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 365-394, October.
    11. 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.
    12. Winand Emons & Joel Sobel, 1991. "On the Effectiveness of Liability Rules when Agents are not Identical," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 375-390.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Roland Hodler & Simon Loertscher & Dominic Rohner, 2010. "Biased Experts, Costly Lies, and Binary Decisions," Working Papers 10.01, Swiss National Bank, Study Center Gerzensee.
    2. Demougin, Dominique & Fluet, Claude, 2006. "Preponderance of evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 963-976, May.
    3. 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.
    4. Friehe Tim, 2010. "On Avoidance Activities After Accidents," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(2), pages 181-195, September.
    5. Baum Ido & Feess Eberhard & Wohlschlegel Ansgar, 2009. "Reporter's Privilege and Incentives to Leak," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 701-715, November.
    6. Miller, James D., 2001. "Perjury and information weighting," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 329-341, September.
    7. 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.
    8. 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 392-392, September.
    9. Winand Emons & Claude Fluet, 2005. "The Optimal Amount of Falsfied Testimony," Diskussionsschriften dp0506, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
    10. Friehe, Tim, 2009. "Screening accident victims," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 272-280, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • K41 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Litigation Process
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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