Contrasting Public Perceptions of Government Versus Certified Public Accounting Firm Oversight of Relief Packages
Forthcoming, Accounting and the Public Interest. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2308/API-2020-019
46 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2021 Last revised: 1 Sep 2021
Date Written: August 26, 2021
This study examines public perceptions of potential overseers charged with ensuring that relief packages are distributed to the intended audience. In an experiment, we assess perceptions of trustworthiness and fraud reduction ability between government and public accounting firm employees in the context of relief package oversight. While actual ability is important, public perceptions of overseer ability is also essential for relief packages to be fully effective. We find that people, regardless of their political party affiliation, rate public accounting firm employees as more trustworthy and better able to reduce fraud than government employees. For government oversight, participant political party affiliation influences perceptions of employee ability and is mediated by general trust in government. These findings suggest public accounting firms are a viable alternative to increase public perceptions that relief packages are distributed effectively. Initial evidence suggests educating the public on the role of career government employees may raise public opinion.
Keywords: Public Perceptions, Government Oversight, Public Accounting Firm Oversight, Relief Programs
JEL Classification: Roles of Government, National Subsidies, Policy Making
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation