Can auditors be independent?: Experimental evidence
Martin Weber and
No 07-59, Papers from Sonderforschungsbreich 504
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 has transformed the institutional environment in the US by making the audit committee responsible for the appointment, compensation and oversight of the auditor. We examine whether this institutional change successfully resolves the alleged problem of an unconscious favoring of the management (Bazerman et al. 1997, 2002, 2006) by changing the effects of auditors’ economic incentives and psychological pressure. In our experimental design, we make use of the particular features of the German institutional setting as it enables us to manipulate the client of the auditor in a realistic and clear-cut way. 72 German auditors with at least two years of job experience participated in our experiment. Following Turner (2001), we distinguish in our analyses between belief tasks (e.g. evidence evaluation) and action tasks (e.g. audit opinion). Our findings imply that certain institutional features seem to be helpful in ensuring auditor independence. First, we find that auditors demonstrate professional scepticism in belief tasks. This seems to counteract any potentially negative effect of the acceptability heuristic in actions tasks. Second, experience helped auditors in coping with psychological pressure. Third, making the auditor accountable to a supervisory board was helpful in reducing the risk that financial considerations would impair auditor independence.
Keywords: Accountability; Audit Committee; Auditor Independence; Client Retention Incentives; Experience; Professional Skepticism (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: M42 K22 C90 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
Working Paper: Can Auditors Be Independent? - Experimental Evidence (2007)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:mnh:spaper:2509
Access Statistics for this paper
More papers in Papers from Sonderforschungsbreich 504 Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Katharina Rautenberg ().