The Riskiness of Large Audit Firm Client Portfolios and Changes in Audit Liability Regimes: Evidence from the U.S. Audit Market

Posted: 4 Aug 2004

See all articles by Jong-Hag Choi

Jong-Hag Choi

Seoul National University - College of Business Administration

Rajib Doogar

University of Washington, Bothell

Ananda R. Ganguly

Claremont McKenna College - Robert Day School of Economics and Finance

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Abstract

We investigate whether the financial riskiness of large US audit firm clienteles varied with the changing audit litigation liability environment during the period 1975-1999. Partitioning the period of study into four distinct periods [a benchmark period (1975-1984), a period of increasing concerns about litigation liability (1985-1989), a period of lobbying for reform (1990-1994) and a post-relief period (1995-1999)], we find some evidence of risk decreases during 1985-1989, strong evidence of risk decreases during 1990-1994 and strong evidence of risk increases during 1995-1999. However, we also find that over the period of our study, a time during which Big Six market shares grew appreciably, the proportion of litigious-industry clients in Big Six client portfolios grew at about the same rate as the proportion of such clients in the population. Moreover, the Big Six share of the financially riskiest clients in the economy did not grow as fast as overall Big Six market share. In sum, while our evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that the riskiness of Big Six client portfolios responded to changes in the audit litigation liability environment, we find no systematic evidence of a race to the bottom or bottom fishing by these firms in a bid to increase their market shares.

Keywords: Audit clienteles, Audit Litigation Reform, Client Quality, Financial Ratios

JEL Classification: K22, L13, L14, L84, M42

Suggested Citation

Choi, Jong and Doogar, Rajib and Ganguly, Ananda Roop, The Riskiness of Large Audit Firm Client Portfolios and Changes in Audit Liability Regimes: Evidence from the U.S. Audit Market. Contemporary Accounting Research, Vol. 21, No. 4, Winter 2004. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=572281

Jong Choi

Seoul National University - College of Business Administration ( email )

Seoul, 151-742
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Rajib Doogar (Contact Author)

University of Washington, Bothell ( email )

18807 Beardslee Boulevard
Box 358584
Bothell, WA 98011-1712
United States
(425) 352-3332 (Phone)

Ananda Roop Ganguly

Claremont McKenna College - Robert Day School of Economics and Finance ( email )

500 E. Ninth Street
Claremont, CA 91711
United States
(909) 607-0720 (Phone)
(909) 621-8249 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.claremontmckenna.edu/academic/faculty/profile.asp?Fac=519

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