Truth-Revealing Mechanisms for Courts
26 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2000
Date Written: May 2000
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: Suggested Citation