Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Business and Economics



First Advisor

Dr. Brian Bratten


Does wage disparity, measured as the difference between highest and lowest paid workers, affect the quality of reported financial information? I collect accounting professional wage data from an international accounting and finance employment placement firm for the period of 1972 to 2017. I investigate to what degree wage disparity in corporate and public accounting has affected accounting information quality by testing predictions derived from equity theory and tournament theory. I find that vertical wage disparity within, as well as horizontal wage disparity between, corporate and public accounting is associated with measures of the relevance and reliability of accounting information. Specifically, pay disparity within corporate accounting is associated with a significant reduction in earnings persistence, in the earnings-returns relationship, in the accruals-cashflow relationship, and with higher levels of absolute abnormal accruals. In tests of pay disparity within the public accounting profession I find evidence of improved information quality associated with higher pay disparity. These findings are consistent with the different structures of employment and career advancement within the corporate and public accounting professions.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Included in

Accounting Commons