History repeats itself: The failure of rational choice models in corporate governance

Oliver Marnet

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Conventional proposals to reform corporate governance based on the rational model of decision making may be insufficient in preventing future corporate debacles. Typically underestimated are the pressures from conflicts of interest and bias on reputational intermediaries. Judgements and choices made by auditors during professional engagements may not strictly adhere to the rational model of decision making. This is of significance with regard to the gatekeeper function of auditors and relevant legislation. A discussion on earnings management elaborates by suggesting that strictly numerical measures are not a reliable guide to the quality of corporate governance. It is suggested that our understanding of monitor behaviour in corporate governance would be improved by placing it on psychologically more realistic foundations. Some of these foundations are introduced.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-210
Number of pages20
JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
Issue number2
Early online date19 Jan 2006
Publication statusPublished - 01 Feb 2007


  • audit
  • earnings management
  • monitor failure
  • rational choice
  • bias
  • behavioural economics


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