Truth-Bonding and Other Truth-Revealing Mechanisms for Courts

32 Pages Posted: 26 Jun 2000

See all articles by Robert D. Cooter

Robert D. Cooter

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law

Winand Emons

University of Bern - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: November 2003

Abstract

In trials witnesses often gain by slanting their testimony. The law tries to elicit the truth from witnesses by cross-examination under threat of criminal prosecution for perjury. As a truth-revealing mechanism, perjury law is crude and ineffective. We develop the mathematical form of a perfect truth-revealing mechanism, which exactly offsets the gain from slanted testimony by the risk of a possible sanction. Implementing an effective truth-revealing mechanism requires a witness to certify accuracy by posting bond. If events subsequently prove that the testimony was inaccurate, the witness forfeits the bond. By providing superior incentives for telling the truth, truth-bonding could combat some distortions by factual witnesses and interested experts, including junk science.

Suggested Citation

Cooter, Robert D. and Emons, Winand, Truth-Bonding and Other Truth-Revealing Mechanisms for Courts (November 2003). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=229339 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.229339

Robert D. Cooter (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law ( email )

Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States
510-642-0503 (Phone)
510-642-3767 (Fax)

Winand Emons

University of Bern - Department of Economics ( email )

Schanzeneckstrasse 1
Postfach 8573
CH-3001 Bern
Switzerland
+41 31 631 3922 (Phone)
+41 31 631 3783 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://staff.vwi.unibe.ch/emons

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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