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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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    3. Robert Cooter & Winand Emons, 2004. "Truth-Bonding and Other Truth-Revealing Mechanisms for Courts," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, pages 307-327.
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    9. Bernardo, Antonio E & Talley, Eric & Welch, Ivo, 2000. "A Theory of Legal Presumptions," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, pages 1-49.
    10. 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, pages 479-491.
    11. 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.
    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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    15. 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.
    16. 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.
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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. Gilles Saint-Paul, 2003. "Growth Effects Of Nonproprietary Innovation," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, pages 429-439.
    3. Demougin, Dominique & Fluet, Claude, 2006. "Preponderance of evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, pages 963-976.
    4. 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.
    5. Friehe Tim, 2010. "On Avoidance Activities After Accidents," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, pages 181-195.
    6. Claude Fluet, 2002. "Assurance de responsabilité et aléa moral dans les régimes de responsabilité objective et pour faute," Revue d'économie politique, Dalloz, pages 845-861.
    7. Baum Ido & Feess Eberhard & Wohlschlegel Ansgar, 2009. "Reporter's Privilege and Incentives to Leak," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, pages 701-715.
    8. Miller, James D., 2001. "Perjury and information weighting," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, pages 329-341.
    9. Harris Dellas & Ana Fernandes, 2014. "Finance and Competition," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 124(575), pages 269-288, March.
    10. Winand Emons, 2005. "Perjury versus Truth Revelation: Quantity or Quality of Testimony," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, pages 392-392.
    11. Dahen, Hela & Dionne, Georges, 2010. "Scaling models for the severity and frequency of external operational loss data," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(7), pages 1484-1496, July.
    12. Emons, Winand, 2003. "A note on the optimal punishment for repeat offenders," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, pages 253-259.
    13. Claude Fluet, 2009. "Accuracy Versus Falsification Costs: The Optimal Amount of Evidence under Different Procedures," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, pages 134-156.
    14. Keser, Claudia & Montmarquette, Claude, 2008. "Voluntary contributions to reduce expected public losses," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 66(3-4), pages 477-491, June.
    15. Robert Cooter & Winand Emons, 2004. "Truth-Bonding and Other Truth-Revealing Mechanisms for Courts," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, pages 307-327.
    16. Winand Emons & Claude Fluet, 2005. "The Optimal Amount of Falsfied Testimony," Diskussionsschriften dp0506, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
    17. Claude Fluet, 2009. "Accuracy Versus Falsification Costs: The Optimal Amount of Evidence under Different Procedures," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, pages 134-156.
    18. Friehe, Tim, 2009. "Screening accident victims," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, pages 272-280.

    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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