Malleable standards of care required by jurors when assessing auditor negligence

Eldar Maksymov, Mark W. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


We report the results of four experiments investigating the relationship between (1) the quality of an audit, (2) jurors' assessments of the standard of prudent care (SOC) against which audit quality is compared, and (3) jurors' negligence verdicts. Experiment 1 operationalizes audit quality by varying the sample size used in audit testing, and provides evidence that jurors anchor their assessment of SOC on audit quality, producing a "competitive mediation" in which audit quality reduces the potential for a negligence verdict directly, but increases that potential indirectly by increasing SOC. Experiment 2 generalizes this finding to a setting that operationalizes audit quality by varying the size of adjustment the auditor required. Experiments 3 and 4 extend these results to a setting in which SOC is elicited after jurors make negligence verdicts. Overall, these experiments provide insight into the role of SOC in constraining and justifying negligence verdicts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-181
Number of pages17
JournalAccounting Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2017


  • Anchoring
  • Audit adjustment
  • Audit quality
  • Auditor liability
  • Jury
  • Mediation
  • Sample size

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics


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