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Meta-analysis and the Accounting Literature: The Case of Audit Committee Independence and Financial Reporting Quality


  • Bradley Pomeroy
  • Daniel Thornton


We conduct a meta-analysis (MA) of the association between audit committee (AC) independence and financial reporting quality (FRQ). Although we cannot reliably aggregate results across studies in a statistical sense because of inconsistencies in defining FRQ and the absence of replication studies, quantitative review techniques yield three conclusions: (1) The use of different FRQ measures in the AC independence literature explains about half of the variation in results across studies. (2) Audit committees are more effective at enhancing audit quality (e.g. through averting going-concern reports and auditor resignations) than they are at fostering financial statement quality (e.g. by making high quality accruals and avoiding restatements). AC independence can even reduce apparent financial statement quality by identifying the need for restatements and remedial, abnormal accruals. (3) Financial statement quality and audit quality are complementary contributors to FRQ. The statistical and methodological difficulties we encounter lead us to posit that the dearth of MA studies in accounting and auditing stems from similar difficulties in applying MA to other topics. We present evidence consistent with publication biases and perverse researcher incentives being responsible for the difficulties.

Suggested Citation

  • Bradley Pomeroy & Daniel Thornton, 2008. "Meta-analysis and the Accounting Literature: The Case of Audit Committee Independence and Financial Reporting Quality," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(2), pages 305-330.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:euract:v:17:y:2008:i:2:p:305-330
    DOI: 10.1080/09638180701819832

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    Cited by:

    1. Muttakin, Mohammad Badrul & Khan, Arifur & Belal, Ataur Rahman, 2015. "Intellectual capital disclosures and corporate governance: An empirical examination," Advances in accounting, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 219-227.
    2. Ahmed, Kamran & Chalmers, Keryn & Khlif, Hichem, 2013. "A Meta-analysis of IFRS Adoption Effects," The International Journal of Accounting, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 173-217.
    3. Khlif, Hichem & Chalmers, Keryn, 2015. "A review of meta-analytic research in accounting," Journal of Accounting Literature, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 1-27.
    4. Hamida Chihi & Jean-François Casta, 2014. "Auditor Rotation And Audit Quality: Meta-Analysis [La Rotation De L'Auditeur Et La Qualite De L'Audit : Une Meta-Analyse]," Post-Print hal-01899770, HAL.
    5. repec:wly:econjl:v::y:2017:i:605:p:f236-f265 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Naeem Tabassum & Satwinder Singh, 2020. "Corporate Governance and Organisational Performance," Springer Books, Springer, number 978-3-030-48527-6, December.
    7. Bilal, & Chen, Songsheng & Komal, Bushra, 2018. "Audit committee financial expertise and earnings quality: A meta-analysis," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 253-270.
    8. Samaha, Khaled & Khlif, Hichem & Hussainey, Khaled, 2015. "The impact of board and audit committee characteristics on voluntary disclosure: A meta-analysis," Journal of International Accounting, Auditing and Taxation, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 13-28.
    9. Afzali, Haaron & Martikainen, Minna & Oxelheim, Lars & Randoy, Trond, 2020. "On the Role of Internationalization of Firm-Level Corporate Governance – The Case of Audit Committees," Working Paper Series 1370, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    10. Carmona, Pedro & Fuentes, Cristina de & Ruiz, Carmen, 2016. "Análise de divulgação de risco no Relatório Anual de Governança Corporativa utilizando fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis," RAE - Revista de Administração de Empresas, FGV-EAESP Escola de Administração de Empresas de São Paulo (Brazil), vol. 56(3), May.
    11. Ibrahim Emair Albawwat & Mohammad Nawaf Al harasees, 2019. "Gender Attributes of Audit Committee Members and the Quality of Financial Reports," 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. 9(3), pages 24-37, July.
    12. C. Piot & L. Kermiche, 2009. "A quoi servent les comités d'audit ? Un regard sur la recherche empirique," Post-Print halshs-00537952, HAL.
    13. David Hay & Jenny Stewart & Nives Botica Redmayne, 2017. "The Role of Auditing in Corporate Governance in Australia and New Zealand: A Research Synthesis," Australian Accounting Review, CPA Australia, vol. 27(4), pages 457-479, December.
    14. Arifur Khan & Mohammad Muttakin & Javed Siddiqui, 2013. "Corporate Governance and Corporate Social Responsibility Disclosures: Evidence from an Emerging Economy," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 114(2), pages 207-223, May.
    15. John P. A. Ioannidis & T. D. Stanley & Hristos Doucouliagos, 2017. "The Power of Bias in Economics Research," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 127(605), pages 236-265, October.
    16. George Silviu CORDOŞ & Melinda Timea FÜLÖP, 2020. "Debates In The Literature Regarding Audit Reporting," Annales Universitatis Apulensis Series Oeconomica, Faculty of Sciences, "1 Decembrie 1918" University, Alba Iulia, vol. 1(22), pages 1-4.
    17. Neifar, Souhir & Jarboui, Anis, 2018. "Corporate governance and operational risk voluntary disclosure: Evidence from Islamic banks," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 43-54.
    18. Klaus Derfuss, 2015. "Relating Context Variables to Participative Budgeting and Evaluative Use of Performance Measures: A Meta-analysis," Abacus, Accounting Foundation, University of Sydney, vol. 51(2), pages 238-278, June.

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