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Auditor Liability and the Precision of Auditing Standards


  • Ralf Ewert


This paper deals with the precision of auditing standards under a negligence liability system for auditors. Auditing standards such as, e.g., GAAS in the US and GoA in Germany provide rules for judging the auditors' due care and are supposed to serve both descriptive and normative purposes. In order to fulfill these functions, it is usually hypothesized that the standards must be made as precise as possible. This paper argues, however, that vague standards need not be detrimental. In fact, it is shown that for each precise standard there exists a vague standard that outperforms the precise standard equilibrium in terms of auditing efforts, quality of the financial statements, costs of using the legal system, and direct as well as total auditing costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Ralf Ewert, 1999. "Auditor Liability and the Precision of Auditing Standards," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 155(1), pages 181-181, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:mhr:jinste:urn:sici:0932-4569(199903)155:1_181:alatpo_2.0.tx_2-e

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Marie-Odile Yanelle, 1997. "Banking Competition and Market Efficiency," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(2), pages 215-239.
    2. Mayer, Colin, 1988. "New issues in corporate finance," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 1167-1183, June.
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    6. Douglas W. Diamond, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414.
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    8. Broecker, Thorsten, 1990. "Credit-Worthiness Tests and Interbank Competition," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(2), pages 429-452, March.
    9. Michael H. Riordan, 1992. "Competition and Bank Performance: A Theoretical Perspective," Papers 0026, Boston University - Industry Studies Programme.
    10. Sharpe, Steven A, 1990. " Asymmetric Information, Bank Lending, and Implicit Contracts: A Stylized Model of Customer Relationships," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(4), pages 1069-1087, September.
    11. Matutes, Carmen & Vives, Xavier, 1996. "Competition for Deposits, Fragility, and Insurance," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 184-216, April.
    12. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1994. "A Theory of Debt Based on the Inalienability of Human Capital," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 841-879.
    13. Klaus M. Schmidt, 1997. "Managerial Incentives and Product Market Competition," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(2), pages 191-213.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jochen Bigus, 2015. "Auditor Reputation Under Different Negligence Regimes," Abacus, Accounting Foundation, University of Sydney, vol. 51(3), pages 356-378, September.
    2. Eberhard Feess & Gerd Muehlheusser & Ansgar Wohlschlegel, 2009. "Environmental liability under uncertain causation," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 28(2), pages 133-148, October.
    3. Ralf Ewert & Eberhard Feess & Martin Nell, 2000. "Auditor liability rules under imperfect information and costly litigation: the welfare-increasing effect of liability insurance," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(3), pages 371-385.
    4. Koch, Christopher & Schunk, Daniel, 2007. "The Case for Limited Auditor Liability - The Effects of Liability Size on Risk Aversion and Ambiguity Aversion," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 07-04, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
    5. Eberhard Feess, 2012. "Malpractice liability, technology choice and negative defensive medicine," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 13(2), pages 157-167, April.
    6. Eberhard Feess, 2013. "Negligence standards and care levels when damages depend on sales prices," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 389-405, October.
    7. Dari-Mattiacci, Giuseppe & Schafer, Hans-Bernd, 2007. "The core of pure economic loss," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 8-28, March.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • K41 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Litigation Process
    • M49 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Other


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