Truth-Revealing Mechanisms for Courts

26 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2000

See all articles by Winand Emons

Winand Emons

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

Robert D. Cooter

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law

Date Written: May 2000

Abstract

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.

JEL Classification: D82, K41, K42

Suggested Citation

Emons, Winand and Cooter, Robert D., Truth-Revealing Mechanisms for Courts (May 2000). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=233090 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.233090

Winand Emons (Contact Author)

University of Bern - Department of Economics ( email )

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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

Robert D. Cooter

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

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

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