63 Pages Posted: 23 Sep 2010 Last revised: 1 Aug 2013
Date Written: July 31, 2013
We extend recent research on the links between political connections and financial reporting by examining the role of auditor choice. Our evidence that public firms with political connections are more likely to appoint a Big Four auditor supports the intuition that insiders in these firms are eager to improve accounting transparency to convince outside investors that they refrain from exploiting their connections to divert corporate resources. In evidence consistent with another prediction, we find that this link is stronger for connected firms with ownership structures conducive to insiders seizing private benefits at the expense of minority investors. We also find that the relation between political connections and auditor choice is stronger for firms operating in countries with relatively poor institutional infrastructure, implying that tough external monitoring by Big Four auditors becomes more valuable for preventing diversion in these situations. Finally, we report that connected firms with Big Four auditors exhibit less earnings management and enjoy greater transparency, higher valuations, and cheaper equity financing.
Keywords: Auditor Choice, Political Connection, Corporate Governance
JEL Classification: G32, G34, M41, M42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Guedhami, Omrane and Pittman, Jeffrey and Saffar, Walid, Auditor Choice in Politically Connected Firms (July 31, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1681459 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1681459
By Mara Faccio