A Right to Silence for Civil Defendants?
The Fifth Amendment guarantees criminal defendants the right to silence, blocking the court from drawing adverse inferences from the defendant's silence. This article investigates the conditions under which extending such protection to civil defendants might increase (or decrease) social welfare. If discovery is imperfect, then defendants who acquire information about the dangerousness of their actions may hide this evidence at trial if it is bad. This tends to make the private benefit from acquiring such information exceed the social benefit. Furthermore, the private benefit from acquiring this information is greater when the court will infer the information is bad if the defendant does not present it. Thus, there are situations in which a right to silence may be necessary to prevent a defendant from acquiring information for which the social costs exceed the social benefit. On the other hand, if it is hard to hide damaging information and the release of damaging information tends to induce lawsuits, then a right to silence may dampen already insufficient incentives to acquire information. (JEL K40, K41) The Author 2008. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Yale University. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Oxford University Press.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 26 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford OX2 6DP, UK|
Fax: 01865 267 985
Web page: http://jleo.oupjournals.org/
|Order Information:||Web: http://www.oup.co.uk/journals|
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:26:y:2010:i:1:p:92-114. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press)or (Christopher F. Baum)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.