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Liberalising audit markets for local government: The five forces at work in England and the Netherlands

De Widt, Dennis, Llewelyn, Iolo and Thorogood, Tim 2021. Liberalising audit markets for local government: The five forces at work in England and the Netherlands. Financial Accountability and Management 10.1111/faam.12302
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Both England and the Netherlands have seen efforts to liberalise their audit markets for local government in recent decades. According to economic theory, these should benefit buyers as increased competition produces lower prices and improved quality. Increasing the number of competing audit firms in markets traditionally dominated by few large firms is widely seen as a key ingredient to this process. However, liberalisation has taken different paths in England, compared to the Netherlands. In England, a national-level collaborative purchasing arrangement has seen a small number of large firms competing, whilst in the Netherlands, a free market has led to the withdrawal by Big-4 firms and rapidly growing market share by mid-tier and small firms. In this paper, we analyse contrasting market developments in local public audit in England and the Netherlands and accordingly analyse the underlying factors through applying an established framework for market analysis from industrial economics, Porter's five forces framework, together with an institutional logics approach to further understand the factors involved. We find the Porter framework a useful tool to identify structural differences between markets but one that requires further analysis to explain underlying dynamics, which in the case of Dutch and English local public audit markets is effectively provided by the use of concepts from institutional logics including a historical contingency analysis.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: In Press
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0267-4424
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 2 September 2021
Date of Acceptance: 2 August 2021
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2021 18:19

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