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Optimal Auditing in Hierarchical Relationships

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  • Anke S. Kessler

Abstract

This paper studies a principal-agent model with third-party auditing. Auditing technologies are distinguished according to the quantity (frequency) and the quality (accuracy) of the information they deliver. We show that the frequency of audits is irrelevant if the auditor either is honest or colludes with the agent but auditing evidence can only be concealed and not forged. Only if auditing evidence can be falsified does the principal benefit both from the frequency and from the accuracy of the auditor's observations. The findings therefore indicate that firms should opt for accurate rather than frequent audits under a wide range of circumstances.

Suggested Citation

  • Anke S. Kessler, 2004. "Optimal Auditing in Hierarchical Relationships," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 160(2), pages 210-210, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:mhr:jinste:urn:sici:0932-4569(200406)160:2_210:oaihr_2.0.tx_2-2
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dominique M. Demougin & Devon A. Garvie, 1991. "Contractual Design with Correlated Information under Limited Liability," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(4), pages 477-489, Winter.
    2. Anke S. Kessler & Christoph Lülfesmann & Patrick W. Schmitz, 2005. "Endogenous Punishments In Agency With Verifiable Ex Post Information ," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 46(4), pages 1207-1231, November.
    3. Dittmann, Ingolf, 1999. "How reliable should auditors be?: optimal monitoring in principal-agent relationships," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 523-546, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Aaron Finkle, 2010. "Contracts in the Shadow of the Law: Optimal Litigation Strategies within Organizations," International Journal of Business and Economics, College of Business and College of Finance, Feng Chia University, Taichung, Taiwan, vol. 9(2), pages 131-155, August.
    2. Finkle, Aaron & Shin, Dongsoo, 2007. "Conducting inaccurate audits to commit to the audit policy," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 379-389, April.
    3. Ricard Gil & Jordi Mondria, 2011. "Introducing managerial attention allocation in incentive contracts," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 335-358, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production

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