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.

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28

Aug

Torture

We study torture as a mechanism for extracting information from a suspect who may or may not be informed. We show that the opti- mal 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 commit- ment problems dramatically reduce the value of torture and can even render it completely ineffective. We use our model to address ques- tions such as the effect of enhanced interrogation techniques, rights against indefinite detention, and delegation of torture to specialists.

 

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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.

28

Aug 2013

Torture

We study torture as a mechanism for extracting information from a suspect who may or may not be informed. We show that the opti- mal 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 commit- ment problems dramatically reduce the value of torture and can even render it completely ineffective. We use our model to address ques- tions such as the effect of enhanced interrogation techniques, rights against indefinite detention, and delegation of torture to specialists.

 

Download


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Your email address will not be published.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>