Truth-Revealing Mechanisms for Courts
University of Bern - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
Robert D. Cooter
University of California, Berkeley - School of Law
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 truth-revealing mechanism. More importantly, we develop a perfect truth-revealing mechanism. 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.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 26
JEL Classification: D82, K41, K42working papers series
Date posted: July 11, 2000
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