ABSTRACT

We explore potential effects of a new Public Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) rule that requires disclosure of the external audit partner's identity. By manipulating the presence or absence of audit partner disclosure (APD), we examine how investors might react to APD and the mechanism behind such reaction. We find that prospective investors are less likely to invest in a peer firm linked to a restating firm via APD than when the link is only through an audit firm and industry. This effect is mediated by investors' restatement likelihood assessments. Our study makes several contributions. First, we add empirical evidence to the emerging debate on the impact of APD to U.S. markets. Second, we experimentally demonstrate investor information contagion and provide support for one mechanism (speculated by archival-based literature) through which it works. Finally, we provide evidence that investors attribute more blame to partners for a negative outcome due to APD.

JEL Classifications: M42; M48.

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