Voluntary audit committee formation and agency costs

Michael Arthur FIRTH, Oliver M. RUI

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


This paper finds that only a small proportion of listed companies in Hong Kong voluntarily establish audit committees prior to the implementation of the revised Code of Best Practice, which effectively mandated them. We show that firms with dispersed ownership, a greater proportion of outside directors, and that have a non-Big Five auditor, are associated with the voluntary adoption of audit committees. The latter result differs from other studies and it suggests that audit committees are a substitute mechanism for the employment of high quality auditors (using the Big Five as a proxy for high quality).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-160
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Accounting, Auditing and Performance Evaluation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007


  • Agency costs
  • Audit committee
  • Audit quality substitution effect

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