Notwithstanding various safeguards intended to enhance auditor independence in fact, regulators including the PCAOB have continued to express concerns that auditors, at times, are failing to maintain an appropriate level of independence. In this paper, we provide an analysis of selected academic studies related to auditor independence to offer readers a foundation on which to evaluate the substantial body of research in the area and to understand the mixed findings reported in experimental and archival studies. We discuss issues surrounding the research designs and methods used in prior work, highlighting challenges that face researchers. Subsequently, we take stock of what we have learned from our analysis and consider the research, regulatory, and practice implications of our conclusions. We also offer avenues for future research and highlight specific issues that warrant further investigation.

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