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Auditor Expertise: Evidence from the Public Sector

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  • Mark Schelker

Abstract

Public Auditors are fundamental institutions to supervise government agents. Without accurate information principals would find it hard to make adequate decisions. Since agents face strong incentives to misreport, competent audits of financial information are crucial. This paper is the first attempt to study the relationship between auditor expertise and fiscal performance. More competent auditors are more effective supervisors; they reduce the leeway of agents to misreport and improve fiscal outcomes. The empirical results support this hypothesis. I find that States requiring the auditor to hold a professional degree feature significantly lower debt and expenditures as well as higher credit ratings.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Schelker, 2009. "Auditor Expertise: Evidence from the Public Sector," CREMA Working Paper Series 2009-20, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  • Handle: RePEc:cra:wpaper:2009-20
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mark Schelker, 2012. "The influence of auditor term length and term limits on US state general obligation bond ratings," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 150(1), pages 27-49, January.
    2. Sattar A. Mansi & William F. Maxwell & Darius P. Miller, 2004. "Does Auditor Quality and Tenure Matter to Investors? Evidence from the Bond Market," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(4), pages 755-793, September.
    3. Eichenberger, Reiner, 1994. "The Benefits of Federalism and the Risk of Overcentralization," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(3), pages 403-420.
    4. Brenda Van Tendeloo & Ann Vanstraelen, 2008. "Earnings Management and Audit Quality in Europe: Evidence from the Private Client Segment Market," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(3), pages 447-469.
    5. Anderson, Sarah & Habel, Philip, 2009. "Revisiting Adjusted ADA Scores for the U.S. Congress, 1947–2007," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(1), pages 83-88, January.
    6. Alesina, Alberto & Perotti, Roberto, 1996. "Fiscal Discipline and the Budget Process," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 401-407, May.
    7. Alt, James E. & Lassen, David Dreyer, 2006. "Fiscal transparency, political parties, and debt in OECD countries," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(6), pages 1403-1439, August.
    8. Claudio Ferraz & Frederico Finan, 2008. "Exposing Corrupt Politicians: The Effects of Brazil's Publicly Released Audits on Electoral Outcomes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 703-745.
    9. James E. Alt & David Dreyer Lassen & Shanna Rose, 2006. "The Causes of Fiscal Transparency: Evidence from the American States," EPRU Working Paper Series 06-02, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    10. Groseclose, Tim & Levitt, Steven D. & Snyder, James M., 1999. "Comparing Interest Group Scores across Time and Chambers: Adjusted ADA Scores for the U.S. Congress," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 93(1), pages 33-50, March.
    11. Caramanis, Constantinos & Lennox, Clive, 2008. "Audit effort and earnings management," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 116-138, March.
    12. von Hagen, Jurgen & Wolff, Guntram B., 2006. "What do deficits tell us about debt? Empirical evidence on creative accounting with fiscal rules in the EU," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(12), pages 3259-3279, December.
    13. Jürgen von Hagen & Ian J. Harden, 2019. "Budget Processes and Commitment to Fiscal Discipline," Credit and Capital Markets, Credit and Capital Markets, vol. 52(4), pages 527-536.
    14. Schelker, Mark & Eichenberger, Reiner, 2010. "Auditors and fiscal policy: Empirical evidence on a little big institution," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 357-380, December.
    15. Leuz, Christian & Nanda, Dhananjay & Wysocki, Peter D., 2003. "Earnings management and investor protection: an international comparison," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 505-527, September.
    16. Reiner Eichenberger, 1994. "The Benefits of Federalism and the Risk of Overcentralization," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(3), pages 403-420, August.
    17. DeAngelo, Linda Elizabeth, 1981. "Auditor size and audit quality," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 183-199, December.
    18. Haidan Li & Morton Pincus & Sonja Olhoft Rego, 2008. "Market Reaction to Events Surrounding the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and Earnings Management," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(1), pages 111-134, February.
    19. Benjamin A. Olken, 2007. "Monitoring Corruption: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 200-249.
    20. Mark Schelker & Reiner Eichenberger, 2003. "Starke Rechnungsprüfungskommissionen: Wichtiger als direkte Demokratie und Föderalismus? Ein erster Blick auf die Daten," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 139(III), pages 351-373, September.
    21. Reiner Eichenberger & Mark Schelker, 2007. "Independent and competing agencies: An effective way to control government," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 130(1), pages 79-98, January.
    22. Yu, Fang (Frank), 2008. "Analyst coverage and earnings management," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 245-271, May.
    23. Craig Depken & Courtney Lafountain, 2006. "Fiscal consequences of public corruption: Empirical evidence from state bond ratings," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 126(1), pages 75-85, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Niccol? Persiani & Alberto Romolini & Claudia Galanti, 2015. "Il nuovo sistema di controlli di regolarit? amministrativa e contabile nel Servizio Sanitario Italiano: i Percorsi Attuativi della Certificabilit?," MECOSAN, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2015(94), pages 31-50.
    2. John A. Dove & Courtney A. Collins & Daniel J. Smith, 2018. "The impact of public pension board of trustee composition on state bond ratings," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 51-73, February.
    3. Mark Schelker, 2016. "Unabhängige Finanzkontrolle in der Demokratie," CREMA Working Paper Series 2016-06, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    public auditor; auditor expertise; auditor competence;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General

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