We examine the impact of social capital on audit fees. We find that firms headquartered in U.S. counties with high social capital pay lower audit fees. Social capital measures the level of mutual trust in a region. Our results suggest that auditors judge the trustworthiness of their clients based on where the firm is headquartered and charge a premium when they trust the firm less. The basis of our results is the examination of more than 28,000 audit fees for more than 5,000 firms spanning the period of 2000 to 2009. The results are robust to controlling for a large number of firm-level and county-level characteristics.

JEL Classifications: M42; M14.

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