Cross-Country Evidence on the Importance of Big Four Auditors to Equity Pricing: The Mediating Role of Legal Institutions
70 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2010 Last revised: 22 Dec 2014
Date Written: December 1, 2014
We report large sample evidence on the importance of auditor choice to the ex ante cost of capital for public firms from 37 countries. In regressions that control for country, industry, and year fixed effects as well as other firm-level determinants, we find that corporate equity financing worldwide is cheaper when Big Four auditors monitor the financial reporting process, although this relation is weaker outside the U.S. where the implicit insurance coverage that auditors afford investors is much lower. Economically, our coefficient estimates imply that U.S. and non-U.S. public firms’ cost of equity capital falls by, on average, 71 and 26 basis points, respectively, in the presence of a Big Four auditor. We also provide empirical support for the predictions that the equity pricing role of Big Four auditors is stronger in countries with better institutions governing investor protection and disclosure standards.
Keywords: Audit Quality, Corporate Governance, Cost of Equity
JEL Classification: G34, G32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation