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The empirical relationship between ownership characteristics and audit fees


  • Santanu Mitra


  • Mahmud Hossain


  • Donald Deis



The present study examines the empirical relationship between ownership characteristics and audit fees. The basic premise is that the level of ownership sophistication and the extent to which ownership is large and substantial impact the effectiveness of stockholder monitoring on corporate affairs including the financial reporting process. Furthermore, high managerial ownership firms may experience a decline in agency problems in financial reporting due to a decrease in managerial propensity to misreport financial results. By employing a cross-sectional least squares regression analysis for a sample of 358 New York Stock Exchange-listed firms audited by the Big Five auditors, we find evidence of a significantly positive relationship between diffused institutional stock ownership (i.e., having less than 5% individual shareholding) and audit fees, and a significantly negative relationship between institutional blockholder ownership (i.e., having 5% or more individual shareholding) and audit fees. Finally, we document that managerial stock ownership is negatively associated with audit fees. We do not, however, find evidence of any relationship between noninstitutional blockholder ownership (with at least 5% individual stock ownership) and audit fees. The study's main results hold in various specification tests including when the effects of board-related and audit committee variables are factored in the analysis. Based on the observed relationship between the ownership variables and audit fees, we suggest that the ownership characteristics of a firm as a part of its governance mechanism constitute an important determinant of audit fees. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Suggested Citation

  • Santanu Mitra & Mahmud Hossain & Donald Deis, 2007. "The empirical relationship between ownership characteristics and audit fees," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 257-285, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:rqfnac:v:28:y:2007:i:3:p:257-285
    DOI: 10.1007/s11156-006-0014-7

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Mary Jane Lenard & Karin A. Petruska & Pervaiz Alam & Bing Yu, 2012. "Indicators of audit fees and fraud classification: impact of SOX," Managerial Auditing Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 27(5), pages 500-525, May.
    2. Azhaar Lajmi & Marjène Gana, 2011. "Structure de Propriété et Qualité de l'Audit Externe : Cas des Entreprises Belges Cotées," Post-Print hal-00650542, HAL.
    3. Salau O. Abdulmalik & Ayoib Che Ahmad, 2015. "The Effect of 2011 Revised Code of Corporate Governance on Pricing Behaviour of Nigerian Auditors," European Financial and Accounting Journal, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2015(4), pages 45-65.
    4. repec:ibn:ijefaa:v:9:y:2017:i:8:p:191-203 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:rss:jnljef:v2i1p2 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Lobna Loukil, 2010. "Conséquences De L'Adoption Des Normes Internationales «Ifrs» Sur Le Coût D'Audit Financier," Post-Print hal-00481517, HAL.
    7. C. Piot & L. Kermiche, 2009. "A quoi servent les comités d'audit ? Un regard sur la recherche empirique," Post-Print halshs-00537952, HAL.
    8. Zein, Nicole & Simons, Dirk, 2008. "Kosten aus einer asymmetrischen Informationsverteilung zwischen Abschlussprüfer und Mandant," Papers 08-34, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
    9. Salau ABDULMALIK O. & Ayoib CHE AHMAD, 2016. "Boardroom diversity and audit fees: director ethnicity, independence and nationality," The Audit Financiar journal, Chamber of Financial Auditors of Romania, vol. 14(136), pages 413-413, Aprilie.
    10. Ahmed Boussaidi & Mounira Sidhom Hamed, 2015. "The impact of governance mechanisms on tax aggressiveness: Empirical evidence from Tunisian context," Journal of Asian Business Strategy, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 5(1), pages 1-12, January.
    11. Bremert, Michael & Voeller, Dennis & Zein, Nicole, 2007. "Interdependencies between Elements of Governance and Auditing : Evidence from Germany," Papers 07-76, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
    12. Rustam, Sehrish & Rashid, Kashif & Zaman, Khalid, 2013. "The relationship between audit committees, compensation incentives and corporate audit fees in Pakistan," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 697-716.
    13. Florin DOBRE, 2016. "Interdependencies between corporate governance and financial audit: evidence from the Romanian Stock Exchange," The Audit Financiar journal, Chamber of Financial Auditors of Romania, vol. 14(134), pages 206-206, January.
    14. Hope, Ole-Kristian & Langli, John Christian & Thomas, Wayne B., 2012. "Agency conflicts and auditing in private firms," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 37(7), pages 500-517.
    15. Ismail Adelopo & Kumba Jallow & Peter Scott, 2012. "Multiple large ownership structure, audit committee activity and audit fees: Evidence from the UK," Journal of Applied Accounting Research, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 13(2), pages 100-121, September.
    16. Mohammad Kiamehr & Asghar Asa'di Moghaddam & Safdar Alipour & Hamid Reza Hajeb, 2015. "Examining the Impact of Institutional Ownership on Monitoring Cost: The Case of Iranian Firms Listed on Tehran Stock Exchange," International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, Human Resource Management Academic Research Society, International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, vol. 5(4), pages 22-30, October.
    17. Effiezal Aswadi Abdul Wahab & Mazlina Mat Zain & Kieran James & Hasnah Haron, 2009. "Institutional investors, political connection and audit quality in Malaysia," Accounting Research Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 22(2), pages 167-195, September.
    18. repec:ebl:ecbull:eb-17-00153 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Effiezal Aswadi Abdul Wahab & Mazlina Mat Zain & Kieran James, 2011. "Political connections, corporate governance and audit fees in Malaysia," Managerial Auditing Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 26(5), pages 393-418, May.
    20. Etienne Redor, 2017. "Board Turnover, Director Characteristics and Audit Fees," Post-Print hal-01624979, HAL.
    21. Oana Raluca Ivan, 2011. "Audit Fee Econometrical Models An Overview Of The Auditing Research Literature," Annales Universitatis Apulensis Series Oeconomica, Faculty of Sciences, "1 Decembrie 1918" University, Alba Iulia, vol. 2(13), pages 1-20.


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