Jeffrey Ely

Jeff Ely is the Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Economics at Northwestern University and an accomplished latte-artist. He is co-director of the Center for Economic Theory, a member of several editorial boards and co-author of the blog Cheap Talk.

Click here to blast this page, Asteroids style. Space bar fires, arrows move.

Follow @jeffely on twitter.

19

Jan

Torture

We study torture as a mechanism for extracting information from a suspect who may or may not be informed. We show that the optimal use of torture is hindered by two commitment problems. First, the principal would benefit from a commitment to torture a victim he knows to be innocent. Second, the principal would benefit from a commitment to limit the amount of torture faced by the guilty. We analyze a dynamic model of torture in which the credibility of these threats and promises are endogenous. We show that these commitment problems dramatically reduce the value of torture and can even render it completely effective. We use our model to address questions such as the effect of enhanced interrogation techniques, rights against indefinite detention, and delegation of torture to specialists.

Tags: , , ,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Jeffrey Ely

Jeff Ely is the Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Economics at Northwestern University and an accomplished latte-artist. He is co-director of the Center for Economic Theory, a member of several editorial boards and co-author of the blog Cheap Talk.

Click here to blast this page, Asteroids style. Space bar fires, arrows move.

19

Jan 2010

Torture

We study torture as a mechanism for extracting information from a suspect who may or may not be informed. We show that the optimal use of torture is hindered by two commitment problems. First, the principal would benefit from a commitment to torture a victim he knows to be innocent. Second, the principal would benefit from a commitment to limit the amount of torture faced by the guilty. We analyze a dynamic model of torture in which the credibility of these threats and promises are endogenous. We show that these commitment problems dramatically reduce the value of torture and can even render it completely effective. We use our model to address questions such as the effect of enhanced interrogation techniques, rights against indefinite detention, and delegation of torture to specialists.

Tags: , , ,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>