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Perjury versus Truth Revelation: Quantity or Quality of Testimony

  • Winand Emons

Witnesses often gain by slanting testimony. Courts try to elicit the truth with perjury rules. Perjury is not truth-revealing; truth revelation is, however, possible. With a truth-revealing mechanism the judge will get little testimony because the defendant will not present witnesses with unfavorable news; yet the testimony is of high quality. Under perjury the court gets a different amount of testimony with lower informational content. A court striving for precision prefers truth revelation to perjury; chances for the defendant to prevail are the same. Truth revelation thus dominates perjury even when the different quantity of testimony is allowed for.

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Article provided by Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen in its journal Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics.

Volume (Year): 161 (2005)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 392-

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Handle: RePEc:mhr:jinste:urn:sici:0932-4569(200509)161:3_392:pvtrqo_2.0.tx_2-g
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  1. Robert Cooter & Winand Emons, 2000. "Truth-Revealing Mechanisms for Courts," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0211, Econometric Society.
  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. 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.
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  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Paul Milgrom & John Roberts, 1986. "Relying on the Information of Interested Parties," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(1), pages 18-32, Spring.
  11. Robert Thornton & John Ward, 1999. "The Economist in Tort Litigation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 101-112, Spring.
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