SUMMARY

This study experimentally tests the joint effects of mandatory partner rotation and PCAOB inspections on audit effort. Using a sample comprised primarily of audit partners, I find that experienced auditors plan lower effort prior to mandatory partner rotation and higher effort when PCAOB inspection risk is high relative to low. Thus, the net effect of anticipating mandatory partner rotation and high PCAOB inspection risk is no change in effort. Partners also reallocate effort away from planning and testing activities prior to rotation, consistent with a disincentive to invest in outgoing clients, while both partner rotation and high PCAOB inspection risk cause partners to spend more effort on documentation. Supplemental evidence about the spillover effects of mandatory partner rotation and PCAOB inspection risk on non-targeted clients is inconsistent with shirking behavior. Results are of interest to legislators, regulators, and auditors during the ongoing debate about the effects of current regulations.

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