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The association between audit committees, compensation incentives, and corporate audit fees

  • Nikos Vafeas


  • James Waegelein


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    This study uses audit fee data from the 2001–2003 reporting periods to examine the relationship between measures of audit committee effectiveness and compensation incentives with corporate audit fees. Our results suggest that audit committee size, committee member expertise, and committee member independence are positively associated to audit fee levels, consistent with the notion that audit committees serve as a complement to external auditors in monitoring management. In contrast, CEO long-term pay and insider ownership are inversely related to audit fee levels, substituting for external audit effort in motivating management. Notwithstanding results on the full sample of firm-years, we uncover significant differences in the determinants of audit fees between the years examined. An important implication of these results is that explaining the intra-firm variation in audit fees over time is clearly necessary in order to understand the antecedents and consequences of audit fees. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

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    Article provided by Springer in its journal Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting.

    Volume (Year): 28 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 3 (April)
    Pages: 241-255

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:rqfnac:v:28:y:2007:i:3:p:241-255
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    1. Craswell, Allen & Stokes, Donald J. & Laughton, Janet, 2002. "Auditor independence and fee dependence," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 253-275, June.
    2. McConnell, John J. & Servaes, Henri, 1990. "Additional evidence on equity ownership and corporate value," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 595-612, October.
    3. Himmelberg, Charles P. & Hubbard, R. Glenn & Palia, Darius, 1999. "Understanding the determinants of managerial ownership and the link between ownership and performance," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 353-384, September.
    4. Morck, Randall & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1988. "Management ownership and market valuation : An empirical analysis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1-2), pages 293-315, January.
    5. Benjamin E. Hermalin & Michael S. Weisbach, 1991. "The Effects of Board Composition and Direct Incentives on Firm Performance," Financial Management, Financial Management Association, vol. 20(4), Winter.
    6. Gaver, Jennifer J. & Gaver, Kenneth M. & Austin, Jeffrey R., 1995. "Additional evidence on bonus plans and income management," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 3-28, February.
    7. Holthausen, Robert W. & Larcker, David F. & Sloan, Richard G., 1995. "Annual bonus schemes and the manipulation of earnings," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 29-74, February.
    8. Seetharaman, Ananth & Gul, Ferdinand A. & Lynn, Stephen G., 2002. "Litigation risk and audit fees: evidence from UK firms cross-listed on US markets," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 91-115, February.
    9. Menon, Krishnagopal & Deahl Williams, Joanne, 1994. "The use of audit committees for monitoring," Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 121-139.
    10. Healy, Paul M., 1985. "The effect of bonus schemes on accounting decisions," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1-3), pages 85-107, April.
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