Partner Gender Differences in Prestige of Clients Served at the Largest US Audit Firms

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Journal of Business Ethics

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Despite tremendous investment to promote gender equity, U.S. public accounting firms continue to be gendered organizations. Our archival study examines gender equity within the partnership of these large firms for a one-year period. We find female partners are clustered in lower prestige client types including investment funds, benefit plans, and single audits, rather than higher prestige public company clients. Second, we consider whether there is gender bias in prestige of client served by female partners who lead public company audits. In these tests of those individuals who have already achieved the partnership and lead public company audits, we find no evidence of bias. This research contributes to the understanding of gender bias in U.S. public accounting firms and helps inform the societal narrative on where women continue to be marginalized even when they have achieved the highest levels in an organization.


© Springer Nature B.V. 2020



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