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To centralize or not: Control right allocation and auditor incentives 2023-03-09

Subject:To centralize or not: Control right allocation and auditor incentives

GuestLin Yupeng, Associate Professor of NUS Business School

Host:Zhang Keyuan Assistant Professor of ACEM

Time:Monday, March 27, 2023 14:00-15:30

Venue:Room A511, Antai College


We use the audit industry in China as a laboratory to examine the role of control right allocation on individual auditors’ incentives when balancing coordination and local information acquisition. Using proprietary data on internal control right allocations, our tests reveal that local engagement auditors of more centralized audit firms provide more effort than their decentralized peers. Auditors in centralized firms are also more likely to adjust reported earnings downward and produce better-quality audited financial statements than in decentralized firms. These associations attenuate in headquarters where the tension between coordination and local information acquisition is absent. We use Confucian culture and rice farming regions as instrumental variables of preference for centralization and find consistent results. Tests based on changes in centralization due to audit firm mergers also yield similar inferences. Further analyses show that the beneficial effects of centralization are more pronounced when central authority has lower information acquisition costs but are weaker when local clients are complex. Our findings directly inform the classic debate on coordinated versus spontaneous adaptation (Williamson, 1996; Hayek, 1945).


Guest Bio

Dr. Lin Yupeng is the Dean's Chair Associate Professor at the Department of Accountancy of NUS Business School. He joined the National University of Singapore in July 2016. Prior to that, he was an Assistant Professor of Accountancy at the City University of Hong Kong. His works have been published in top accounting and finance journals, including The Accounting Review, Journal of Accounting Research, Journal of Accounting and Economics, Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Review of Corporate Finance Studies, Journal of Law and Economics and Organization Science. He earned Bachelor in Economics from Sun Yat-Sen University in 2008 and a Ph. D. in Business Administration from the National University of Singapore in 2014. His current research interests cover topics related to taxation, inequality, and climate change.