Four essays on the quality of auditing: Causes and consequences

Sytse Duiverman

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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The four essays collected in this PhD thesis describe diverse research studies sharing a central theme: causes and consequences of audit quality issues.

The first essay uses the economic concepts of resource based theory, to describe the effect of audit regulation on resource barriers at the level of the audit industry and the audit firm. The essay indicates that barriers made to enhance audit quality, can have negative side-effects, as, over time, especially large audit firms, became more reliant on less experienced staff resources, to meet the regulated (high) demand for audit services.

The second essay uses an economic concept applied in environmental economics, ‘the tragedy of the commons’, to analyse the causes potentially leading to a shredded professional reputation. The essay shows that professional reputation is an important common resource in the audit profession, and describes how short-termism by individuals can in the long-run lead to the deterioration of professional reputation. The paper suggests solutions to avoid these problems. The third essay researches which personality characteristics, first, drive a student’s preference for a master in accounting. Furthermore it researches which personality characteristics drive a person’s preference to engage in either public service activities or entrepreneurship. As auditors fulfil an important public function in a commercial environment, this essay researches if the personality characteristics of accounting students either match those of persons with a high public service motivation or those with entrepreneurial ambitions. The paper gives insights about the motivations of future auditors.

The final and fourth essay is an extension of the third essay, as it uses a public goods game as an experiment, to research the effect of personality on a person’s behaviour. A public goods game challenges a participant to invest in a shared project even if this is at the expense of his or her individual welfare. The essay shows that especially persons with a high public service motivation are willing to do so, and as such will less likely create a common problem. The findings from the paper may have practical implications for HR policies within audit firms or provide insights to universities when they develop their education programs.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Tilburg University
  • van Witteloostuijn, A., Promotor
  • Buijink, Willem, Promotor
Award date5 Oct 2022
Place of PublicationTilburg
Print ISBNs9789056686888
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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