The purpose of this paper is to examine if there exists a gender difference in overconfidence within an auditor population. Studies outside the accounting domain have found that men are more overconfident than women. It would be worthwhile to know if such a gender difference in overconfidence also exists within the auditor population. Such a gender difference could have far‐reaching consequences; among other things, it could explain why client firms with female audit partners have significantly higher audit fees. Because of substantial self‐selection and socialization it could however be that female auditors are as overconfident as their male colleagues.
As is common in the psychological literature, calibration tests were used to measure the degree of overconfidence of male and female auditors.
The results provide no evidence for a gender difference in overconfidence within a population of auditors and warrant against generalizing findings from non‐audit populations to auditors.
Consistent with previous research, overconfidence was treated as if it were a single construct. The different varieties of overconfidence may, however, not simply be interchangeable. It may be the case that one measure of overconfidence would produce a sex difference while the other would not.
This study contributes to the growing literature that examines the effects of gender on audit judgment and decision making. An important implication is that the results clearly warrant against generalizing findings from non‐audit populations to auditors.
This is the first study to investigate if a gender difference in overconfidence exists within an auditor population.
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