Following the introduction of SOX in 2002 and the introduction of PCAOB inspections starting from 2003, DeFond and Lennox (2011) found that a large number of small auditors exited the SEC client audit market during the 2002–2004 period and that these exiting auditors were of lower quality relative to non-exiting auditors. This paper seeks to verify whether SOX and the introduction of PCAOB inspections improved audit quality through incentivizing small auditors providing lower audit quality to exit the market. Using client discretionary accruals and the likelihood of the clients restating financial statements as proxies for audit quality, we do not find that the small auditors that exited the market for SEC client audits were of lower quality than successor small audit firms that did not exit the market.

JEL Classifications: G18; L51.

Data Availability: Data are available from the public sources cited in the text.

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