Emons, Winand: Truth-Revealing Mechanisms for Courts
World Conference Econometric Society, 2000, Seattle

Robert Cooter, University of California, Berkeley
Winand Emons, University of Bern
Truth-Revealing Mechanisms for Courts
Session: C-13-12  Wednesday 16 August 2000  by Emons, Winand
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."
Submitted paper full-text in .pdf


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