Articles

Audit Fees In Family Firms: Evidence From U.S. Listed Companies

C. LESAGE, C. BEN ALI

Journal of Applied Business Research

2014, vol. 30, n°3, pp.807-815

Departments: Accounting & Management Control

Keywords: Family Firms; Audit Fees; Agency Conflicts; Corporate Governance


Family businesses are an important part of the world economy (Anderson & Reeb, 2003) and differ considerably from non-family firms with regard to corporate governance. However, despite their difference, family businesses have received relatively little research attention. Our study contributes to this growing research by empirically investigating the relationship between family shareholding and audit pricing. Using a sample of 3,291 firm-year observations of major U.S. listed companies, for the 2006–2008 period, our results demonstrate that audit fees are negatively associated with family shareholding after taking into account time-varying effects and industry effects as well as traditional control variables. The empirical results are robust to alternativefamily shareholding measures and estimation model specifications. Our results are consistent with the convergence-of-interests hypothesis suggesting that family firms face lower manager/shareholders agency costs. Auditors charge lower fees for family firms because of lower information asymmetry and risk given that the controlling family is well informed about the firmand is better able to monitor managerial decisions


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