Foreign Institutional Ownership and Auditor Choice: Evidence from Worldwide Institutional Ownership
Journal of International Business Studies 50, 83-110
51 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2016 Last revised: 4 Mar 2020
Date Written: July 8, 2016
We investigate the influence of foreign institutional investors on firms’ auditor choices in an international setting. Foreign institutional investors are likely to demand high-quality audits to mitigate the information asymmetry they face and facilitate their external monitoring when they invest overseas. On the other hand, foreign institutional investors not only face difficulties in monitoring overseas firms in general but also have the limited ability to influence their auditor choices in particular. Using a large sample of 111,078 firm-year observations from 40 non-U.S. countries for the period of 2001–2011, we find that firms with higher foreign institutional ownership are more likely to hire Big 4 auditors. To address the endogeneity concern, we show that our findings are robust to the use of identification strategies exploiting the exogenous variation in foreign institutional ownership following MSCI index additions, two-stage least squares regressions, and change-on-change regressions. More importantly, we further explore cross-sectional/cross-country variations in the relation between foreign institutional investors and auditor choice and find that this relation is stronger (a) when foreign institutional investors are from countries with stronger governance institutions and (b) when the investee firms are located in countries with higher information asymmetries. Overall, our findings suggest that cross-border institutional investment plays an important role in influencing firms’ auditor choices and improving the information environment of firms across different countries around the world.
Keywords: Foreign Institutional Investors, Auditor Choice, Information Environment
JEL Classification: M40, M41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation