, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 241-255
Date: 17 Jan 2007

The association between audit committees, compensation incentives, and corporate audit fees

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Abstract

This study uses audit fee data from the 2001–2003 reporting periods to examine the relationship between measures of audit committee effectiveness and compensation incentives with corporate audit fees. Our results suggest that audit committee size, committee member expertise, and committee member independence are positively associated to audit fee levels, consistent with the notion that audit committees serve as a complement to external auditors in monitoring management. In contrast, CEO long-term pay and insider ownership are inversely related to audit fee levels, substituting for external audit effort in motivating management. Notwithstanding results on the full sample of firm-years, we uncover significant differences in the determinants of audit fees between the years examined. An important implication of these results is that explaining the intra-firm variation in audit fees over time is clearly necessary in order to understand the antecedents and consequences of audit fees.

JEL Classification M41