Audit Quality, Alternative Monitoring Mechanisms, and Cost of Capital: An Empirical Analysis
43 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2008 Last revised: 2 Sep 2008
Date Written: August 2008
Prior studies document that firms using a Big 4 auditor have a lower cost of capital than other firms. We extend this literature by examining whether using an industry specialist auditor reduces cost of capital for clients of Big 4 audit firms. We document that firms that use Big 4 auditors that are industry specialists have significantly lower cost of both equity and debt than firms that use non-specialist Big 4 auditors. We further investigate whether the benefits of using an industry specialist auditor vary with the strength of alternative monitoring mechanisms. We show that using an industry specialist auditor is especially important when alternative monitoring mechanisms, such as boards of directors or institutional shareholders, are relatively weak. In other words, the benefits of using an industry specialist auditor dissipate when alternative monitoring mechanisms are strong. This evidence suggests some degree of substitutability between audit quality and alternative monitoring mechanisms.
Keywords: Audit quality, Industry specialization, Financial reporting credibility, Cost of capital
JEL Classification: G12, G34, G38, M49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation