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A Theory of Certification with an Application to the Market for Auditing Services

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Author Info

  • Hvide, Hans K.

    ()
    (Dept. of Finance and Management Science, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)

Abstract

The paper develops a theory which attempts to understand segmentation and fee-setting in certification markets. The basis for the theory is that certifiers offer differentiated tests; for a given object it may be more difficult to pass the test of certifier i than the test of certifier j. Given the test standards, certifiers compete for customers via their fee-setting. In equilibrium, sellers with low unobservable quality self-select to a lenient test and sellers with high unobservable quality self-select to a stricter test. Moreover, sellers selecting an easy test pay a lower (endogenous) certification fee than sellers selecting a difficult test. As a test of the theory, I analyze Norwegian panel data to investigate whether firms affilated with a cheaper or a non-Big 5 auditor have worse (unobservable) characteristics, measured by subsequent drops in sales, assets or equity. The empirical analysis supports the theory.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Business and Management Science, Norwegian School of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 2004/10.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: 26 Aug 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:nhhfms:2004_010

Contact details of provider:
Postal: NHH, Department of Business and Management Science, Helleveien 30, N-5045 Bergen, Norway
Phone: +47 55 95 92 93
Fax: +47 55 95 96 50
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Web page: http://www.nhh.no/en/research-faculty/department-of-business-and-management-science.aspx
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Related research

Keywords: Adverse Selection; Auditing; Investment Banking; Oligopoly theory; Signaling;

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References

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  1. Marco Ottaviani & Peter Sorensen, 1999. "Professional Advice," Game Theory and Information 9906003, EconWPA.
  2. Titman, Sheridan & Trueman, Brett, 1986. "Information quality and the valuation of new issues," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 159-172, June.
  3. Weiss, Andrew, 1983. "A Sorting-cum-Learning Model of Education," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(3), pages 420-42, June.
  4. Johnson, W. Bruce & Lys, Thomas, 1990. "The market for audit services : Evidence from voluntary auditor changes," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1-3), pages 281-308, January.
  5. Puri, Manju, 1996. "Commercial banks in investment banking Conflict of interest or certification role?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 373-401, March.
  6. Puri, Manju, 1999. "Commercial banks as underwriters: implications for the going public process," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 133-163, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Yiquan Gu, 2008. "Imperfect Certification," Ruhr Economic Papers 0078, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.

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