Prediction versus Inducement and the Informational Efficiency of Going Concern Opinions
49 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2016
Date Written: January 31, 2016
We examine two distinct channels through which going concern opinions can be associated with the likelihood of bankruptcy: auditors have better access to information about their clients' bankruptcy risk and going concern opinions directly induce bankruptcies. Using a bivariate probit model that addresses omitted variable bias arising from auditors' additional information, we find support for both the information and inducement channels. The direct inducement effect of receiving a going concern opinion is a 1.5 percentage point increase in the probability of bankruptcy. Despite the direct effect acting as a "self-fulfilling" prophecy, going concern opinions do not predict more bankruptcies than a statistical model based solely on observable data, which suggests that auditors do not efficiently use information when generating going concern opinions.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation