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Local Institutions, Audit Quality, and Corporate Scandals of US-Listed Foreign Firms

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  • Lei Chen

    () (Southwestern University of Finance and Economics)

Abstract

Abstract Using data on shareholder-initiated class action lawsuits in the US, I investigate the corporate scandals of US-listed foreign firms. The shareholders of scandal firms suffer considerable loss in both the short term and the long term. I document that firms domiciled in countries with weak institutions are more likely to be embroiled in corporate scandals, but such a relation can be moderated by the presence of Big 4 auditors. Investors automatically adjust for undiscovered misconduct when valuing the stocks of non-scandal firms (i.e., the spillover effect). Investors rely on the audit quality to form their expectations about the severity of undiscovered misconduct, and thus impose less negative spillovers on firms with Big 4 auditors, especially when the firms are from countries with weak institutions. Taken together, my results suggest that listing on US exchanges does not fully compensate for weak local institutions; voluntarily bonding to a more stringent audit process has an incremental effect on protecting shareholder interests and enhances the confidence of investors in firms’ financial integrity.

Suggested Citation

  • Lei Chen, 2016. "Local Institutions, Audit Quality, and Corporate Scandals of US-Listed Foreign Firms," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 133(2), pages 351-373, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:133:y:2016:i:2:d:10.1007_s10551-014-2370-x
    DOI: 10.1007/s10551-014-2370-x
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