Spatial competition in the private client audit market



This study examines whether competitive pressure among auditors affects pricing in the market segment of private audit clients. Based on spatial competition theory (e.g. Hotelling 1929; Tirole 1988) we explore whether audit firms can create market power in that segment by geographical location and industry differentiation. We find evidence that both close competitors in terms of industry differentiation and geographical location put negative pressure on audit fees. This study differs from prior audit pricing studies as (1) it focuses on the (largely unexplored) private client segment of the au dit market and (2) introduces a new proxy to examine pressure from geographically close competitors.