Auditor’s Gender and Audit Fees

33 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2010

See all articles by Kim Ittonen

Kim Ittonen

Hanken School of Economics - Department of Accounting

Emilia Vähämaa

Hanken School of Economics

Date Written: May 19, 2010


Documented behavioral differences between women and men suggest (see e.g. Davidson & Gist, 1996; Fondas & Sassalos, 2000; Schubert, 2006; Bonner, 2008) that the gender of the audit engagement partner may have implications for the price setting of the audit. Thus, this paper examines the effect of the auditor’s gender on audit fees in an environment, where the responsible audit partners can be identified. Using a sample of public firms from the NASDAQ OMX exchanges in three Nordic countries, we find evidence indicating that firms with female audit engagement partners have significantly higher audit fees. Our findings are consistent with the interpretation that gender differences in risk tolerance may affect the pricing decisions by increasing the audit investment and/or increasing in the audit fee risk premium. Alternatively, female auditors’ diligence, lower overconfidence, and higher level of preparation could also lead to an increase in audit investment, and thereby result in higher audit fees.

Keywords: audit fees, gender-based differences, psychological characteristics

Suggested Citation

Ittonen, Kim and Vähämaa, Emilia, Auditor’s Gender and Audit Fees (May 19, 2010). Available at SSRN: or

Kim Ittonen (Contact Author)

Hanken School of Economics - Department of Accounting ( email )

FI-00101 Helsinki

Emilia Vähämaa

Hanken School of Economics ( email )

PB 287
Helsinki, Vaasa 65101

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