Date of Award

12-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Business Administration

Major Professor

Terry L. Neal

Committee Members

Donald J. Bruce, Joeseph V. Carcello, Daniel P. Murphy

Abstract

Prior literature’s inability to document an empirical relation between non-audit service fees and compromised auditor independence contradicts the significant and long-standing concerns expressed by regulators and the investing community. The purpose of this paper is to reconcile the lack of findings in prior research with regulators’ and investors’ concerns about non-audit services. Using a new measure – goodwill impairments – that alleviates many of the potential limitations that could have prevented prior research from documenting evidence to support the proposed relation between non-audit services and auditor independence, I find that the level of non-audit fees of a client is negatively associated with the likelihood of recording a goodwill impairment in settings where the market indicates goodwill may be impaired. Further examinations of these findings suggest that the lack of results in prior literature could be related to limitations in the settings being tested in those papers.

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