Currently, there is an international trend to strengthen independence requirements for auditors. Whether the new rules can be explained from an economic viewpoint is discussed in the first part of the paper. Thereby the conclusion is reached that because of reputation effects, big audit companies have strong incentives not to give up their independence. It is argued that the need for further regulations is therefore not explainable assuming rational behavior. In the second part of the paper the analysis is broadened to include systematic deviations from rationality as it is more and more done in the research area of behavioral economics. The existence and the implication of incentives identified by economic analyses are questioned. Finally the assumption of a perfect audit technology, which is often implicitly used in economic models of auditor independence, is also critically questioned. Potential negative implications of the self-serving bias in connection with accountability are shown by drawing from the results of experimental research
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