In this paper, I discuss a classroom experiment that can be used to illustrate how auditing can impact investor behavior and financial market performance by providing assurance on the quality of financial information. In particular, the experiment demonstrates that auditing can influence security prices and investment portfolio compositions in a way that benefits investors and lowers the cost of capital for firms. The experiment complements the material in auditing texts by creating an environment where students can directly observe how auditing influences investor behavior in a set of financial markets in which students trade securities based on the contents of a financial report. The simplicity of the experiment, its relatively short duration, and the formal inclusion of financial reporting make it a particularly attractive alternative for those who wish to utilize an auditing experiment in their classes.
In the experiment, students trade securities in a sequence of markets in which financial information pertaining to security values is made public. The quality of the information depends on whether it was audited, and varies from market to market. Data on transaction prices, security holdings, and investor profits from a typical sequence of markets are presented, as are a series of discussion topics designed to illustrate how to use the experiment and related data to address a variety of auditing‐related issues.