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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. repec:eee:advacc:v:31:y:2015:i:2:p:219-227 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. C. Piot & L. Kermiche, 2009. "A quoi servent les comités d'audit ? Un regard sur la recherche empirique," Post-Print halshs-00537952, HAL.
    3. 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.
    4. repec:eee:jbrese:v:84:y:2018:i:c:p:253-270 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:eee:joacli:v:35:y:2015:i:c:p:1-27 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:eee:jiaata:v:24:y:2015:i:c:p:13-28 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:wly:econjl:v::y:2017:i:605:p:f236-f265 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.

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