Title

The Effect of an Auditor Identity Disclosure Requirement on Audit Quality: An Experimental Examination Incorporating the Incremental Effect of a Signature Requirement

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

11-2019

Abstract

After considering a proposal to require the engagement partner's signature on the audit report (PCAOB 2009), the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board chose instead to only require the disclosure of the engagement partner's name (PCAOB 2015). We make predictions regarding the effects of the two proposed requirements using insights from social norm theory, and test those predictions using an experimental audit market setting found in the literature. We find that both requirements reduce misreporting when compared to a control setting with neither requirement present. We also document that the signature requirement generates an incremental reduction in misreporting when added to the disclosure requirement. Finally, we provide evidence that these effects are driven by participants with higher sensitivity to social norms. This theory and evidence supports the new identity disclosure requirement at the PCAOB and helps explain the existence of signature requirements in many non-U.S. countries.

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