Judicial Torture as War of Attrition
27 Pages Posted: 30 May 2009
Date Written: May 26, 2009
By modeling judicial torture as a war of attrition, the paper derives the optimal strategies of the magistrate and the accused defendant as functions of their characteristics and the nature of uncertainty. Torture can occur as an equilibrium outcome in which both parties take costly actions to overcome informational barriers. Whether the magistrate will torture, and its result if he does, is shown to depend on how he evaluates the loss of type II error against the torturee's pain, his belief on how likely it is that the defendant is guilty, and the defendant's disutility of being tortured relative to the legal penalty of crime.
Keywords: torture, type I and II errors, evidence, war of attrition, imperfect information
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