Engagement Auditor Industry Specialization and Stock Price Crash Risk: Evidence from China
55 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2017
Date Written: October 29, 2017
We investigate the effects of engagement auditor industry specialization on stock price crash risk. Although research on audit partners has been growing, we are not aware of any prior studies that investigate partner-level specialization and crash risk. Using a large sample of Chinese stocks spanning the period 2003-2015, we find a statistically significant and negative association between auditor industry specialization and stock price crash risk. Our mediation tests suggest that audit partner industry specialization decreases the risk of price crash by mitigating earnings manipulation. We further document that the negative association is more pronounced for firms that switch from non-specialist audit partners to specialist audit partners. We also find some evidence that audit partners’ personal characteristics moderate the association between partner specialization and crash risk. Our results remain robust to alternative measures of partner specialization.
Keywords: Engagement auditor, industry specialization, stock price crash risk, China
JEL Classification: G12, G30, M41, M42
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