Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 158, Issue 3, pp 849–874 | Cite as

What’s in a Surname? The Effect of Auditor-CEO Surname Sharing on Financial Misstatement

  • Xingqiang DuEmail author
Original Paper


This study examines the influence of auditor-CEO surname sharing (ACSS) on financial misstatement and further investigates whether the above effect depends on hometown relationship and the rarity of surnames, respectively. Using hand-collected data from China, the findings show that ACSS is significantly positively related to financial misstatement, suggesting that the auditor-CEO ancestry membership elicits the collusion and increases the likelihood of financial misstatement. Moreover, ACSS based upon hometown relationship leads to significantly higher likelihood of financial misstatement, compared with ACSS without hometown relationship. Furthermore, the positive relation between ACSS and financial misstatement is more pronounced for rare surnames than for common surnames. The above findings are robust to sensitivity tests on the basis of different measures of ACSS and financial misstatement, and my conclusions are still valid after using the propensity score matching approach to address the endogeneity concerns.


Auditor-CEO surname sharing (ACSS) Financial misstatement Hometown relationship Rare surnames 



I highly appreciate constructive comments and informative guidance from Prof. Steven Dellaportas (the Section Editor) and two anonymous reviewers and many valuable suggestions from Shaojuan Lai, Quan Zeng, Hongmei Pei, Fei Hou, Junting Zhou, Hao Xiong, Jingwei Yin, Miaowei Peng, and participants of my presentations at Xiamen University and Anhui University. Prof. Xingqiang Du acknowledges financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (the approval number: NSFC-71790602; NSFC-71572162), the Key Project of Key Research Institute of Humanities and Social Science in Ministry of Education (the approval number: 16JJD790032), and the Training Program of Fujian Excellent Talents in University (FETU).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Accounting Department, School of ManagementXiamen UniversityXiamenChina

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