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The Effect of Auditor Industry Specialization on Audit Pricing in Belgium


  • Wouter Dutillieux
  • Marleen Willekens


Recent studies have documented that auditor industry specialization is associated with higher audit fees for public firms in Australia, the U.S. and the U.K. This paper uses a unique dataset that consists of all audit engagements for the year 2004 to examine this issue in Belgium. We document that in addition to a general Big 4 brand name premium there is a premium for industry specialization. Above that, specialization leads to higher audit fees for both Big 4 specialists and non-Big 4 specialists. We contribute to the literature by documenting the existence of audit fee premiums for industry specialization in the nonlisted client segment of the audit market, while previous research focused on the listed client segment. In additional analyses we show that the largest audit clients do not pay fee premiums for specialization, which could be an indication of their greater bargaining power.

Suggested Citation

  • Wouter Dutillieux & Marleen Willekens, 2009. "The Effect of Auditor Industry Specialization on Audit Pricing in Belgium," Review of Business and Economic Literature, KU Leuven, Faculty of Economics and Business, Review of Business and Economic Literature, vol. 0(2), pages 129-146.
  • Handle: RePEc:ete:revbec:20090202

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    auditor industry specialization; private client segment; audit fees; Belgium;

    JEL classification:

    • M42 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Auditing


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