We examine whether the effect of mandatory auditor rotation on audit quality depends on the mental frame auditors adopt in evaluating management representations. In practice, auditors can alternately frame their assessments of management representations in terms of their potential dishonesty (what we term skepticism) or potential honesty. Using psychology theory and a laboratory experiment, we predict and find that mandatory rotation improves audit quality when an auditor takes an honesty frame, but that this effect reverses when an auditor takes a skeptical frame. Thus, the benefit of using a skeptical frame occurs when auditors do not rotate, but requiring rotation can reduce audit effort for auditors using a skeptical frame. An implication of our study is that focusing auditors on a skeptical assessment frame rather than mandating auditor rotation may be a less costly way to reduce low-effort audits and aggressive reporting.

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