Prior research provides some evidence that strict corporate monitoring constrains financial misreporting. We examine whether the efficacy of various corporate monitoring mechanisms hinges on the nature of accounting standards—rules-based standards (RBS) versus principles-based standards (PBS)—in place. We generally document that the negative association between the likelihood of misstatements and tough monitoring by audit committees, boards, external auditors, and the SEC is more pronounced under RBS than under PBS. This evidence collectively suggests that most corporate gatekeepers fulfill their monitoring obligations primarily through ensuring better compliance with detailed standards when the applicable standards are more specific and leave less room for discretion. Although some prior studies document higher financial reporting quality under PBS, our results imply that it is important for regulators to also consider the potentially higher monitoring efficacy under RBS when setting accounting standards.
Data Availability: Data are available from the public sources cited in the text.
JEL Classifications: M40; M42.