Estimation risk occurs when individuals form beliefs about parameters that are unknown. We examine how auditors respond to the estimation risk that arises when they form beliefs about the likelihood of client bankruptcy. We argue that auditors are likely to become more conservative when facing higher estimation risk because they are risk-averse. We find that estimation risk is of first-order importance in explaining auditor behavior. In particular, auditors are more likely to issue going-concern opinions, are more likely to resign, and charge higher audit fees when the standard errors surrounding the point estimates of bankruptcy are larger. To our knowledge, this is the first study to quantify estimation risk using the variance-covariance matrix of coefficient estimates taken from a statistical prediction model.
Review of Accounting Studies – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 21, 2016
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