Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1832706
 


 



An Economic Analysis of Fact Witness Payment


Eugene Kontorovich


Northwestern University Law School

Ezra Friedman


Northwestern University - School of Law

May 4, 2011

The Journal of Legal Analysis, Vol. 3, p. 139, 2011
Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 11-45
Northwestern Law & Econ Research Paper No. 11-13

Abstract:     
In this paper we discuss the disparate treatment of perceptual ("fact") witnesses and expert witnesses in the legal system. We highlight the distinction between the perceptual act of witnessing and the act of testifying, and argue that although there might be good reasons to regulate payments to fact witnesses, the customary prohibition on paying them for their services is not justified by reference to economic theory. We propose considering a court mediated system for compensating fact witnesses so as to encourage witnessing of legally important events.We construct a simple model of witness incentives, and simulate the effects of several possible payment mechanisms. Although it is possible that any system that offers a financial incentive will induce some unreliable witness testimony, we argue that the current system also provides incentives for biased testimony, so it is not clear that a payment system would lower the quality of witness testimony.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 27

Keywords: fact witnesses, expert witnesses, testimony

JEL Classification: K10, K19, K40, K41

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Date posted: May 7, 2011  

Suggested Citation

Kontorovich, Eugene and Friedman, Ezra, An Economic Analysis of Fact Witness Payment (May 4, 2011). The Journal of Legal Analysis, Vol. 3, p. 139, 2011; Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 11-45; Northwestern Law & Econ Research Paper No. 11-13. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1832706

Contact Information

Eugene Kontorovich (Contact Author)
Northwestern University Law School ( email )
375 E. Chicago Ave
Unit 1505
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
(212) 503-0429 (Phone)
Ezra Friedman
Northwestern University - School of Law ( email )
375 E. Chicago Ave
Unit 1505
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
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