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Does auditor gender influence auditor liability? Exploring the impact of the crime congruency effect on jurors' perceptions of auditor negligence


  • Alderman, Jillian


This study investigates the liability risk associated with auditors' personal and financial conflicts of interest, and the potential for differences in liability exposure based on the gender of the auditor. A survey-based experiment was performed with 160 jury-eligible participants who reviewed a scenario in which an auditor, the defendant, failed to detect and report fraudulent behavior on the part of a client. The plaintiffs in this case are investors in the company who sustained financial losses due to the fraud, asserting that the audit firm should be liable for damages. A 2×2 between-subjects experiment examined how the auditor's gender (male/female) and the motivations of the alleged conflict of interest (personal vs. financial) influence jury-eligible individuals' perceptions of the defendant's independence and liability for negligence and fraud. Results indicate that female auditors are perceived as less independent and more liable for a personal conflict of interest, compared to male auditors. Male auditors are perceived as less independent and more liable for a financial conflict of interest, compared to female auditors. Auditors, regardless of gender, were perceived as less independent and more liable for a personal conflict of interest compared to a financial conflict of interest. The outcome of this study could be utilized to educate audit firms on the potential risks of liability that could emerge in unanticipated areas, and to assist with audit planning and legal decisions.

Suggested Citation

  • Alderman, Jillian, 2017. "Does auditor gender influence auditor liability? Exploring the impact of the crime congruency effect on jurors' perceptions of auditor negligence," Advances in accounting, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 75-87.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:advacc:v:38:y:2017:i:c:p:75-87
    DOI: 10.1016/j.adiac.2017.07.006

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Christopher Koch & Martin Weber & Jens Wüstemann, 2012. "Can Auditors be Independent? Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Client Type," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(4), pages 797-823, December.
    2. Kaplan, Steven E. & Mauldin, Elaine G., 2008. "Auditor rotation and the appearance of independence: Evidence from non-professional investors," Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 177-192.
    3. Guan, Yuyan & Su, Lixin (Nancy) & Wu, Donghui & Yang, Zhifeng, 2016. "Do school ties between auditors and client executives influence audit outcomes?," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 506-525.
    4. Power, Michael, 1998. "Auditor liability in context," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 77-79, January.
    5. Arrington, Ce & Bailey, Cd & Hopwood, Ws, 1985. "An Attribution Analysis Of Responsibility Assessment For Audit Performance," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(1), pages 1-20.
    6. repec:cup:judgdm:v:5:y:2010:i:5:p:411-419 is not listed on IDEAS
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    1. Brink, Alisa G. & Eller, C. Kevin & Gao, Lei, 2021. "He wouldn't, but I would: The effects of pronoun-induced language vividness in whistleblowing policies," Advances in accounting, Elsevier, vol. 54(C).
    2. Tarek Abdelfattah & Mohamed Elmahgoub & Ahmed A. Elamer, 2021. "Female Audit Partners and Extended Audit Reporting: UK Evidence," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 174(1), pages 177-197, November.

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