Aggressive Reporting and Probabilistic Auditing in a Principles-Based Environment



We analyse the reporting strategies of firms and the investigation strategies of auditors in an archetype principles-based financial reporting system. To this end, we add a verification stage to a standard cheap-talk game, and apply the resulting game to financial reporting. We show that for a principles-based system to work properly, firms should bear a sufficient share of the cost of a thorough investigation. Furthermore, we find that a principles-based system is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it leads to a plausible investigation strategy of the auditor, in which “suspected” reports receive most attention. On the other hand, a principles-based system only indirectly weakens firms’ incentives to report aggressively.

This seminar is organised by the Erasmus Accounting Research Group.