Does Good Auditing Generate Quality of Government?

Despite the large focus in research and practice on audit, inspections and oversight activities there has been few empirical studies showing the effects of auditing on public sector performance. Hence, we have little knowledge of whether auditing lead to positive, negative or no effects at all on the public sector. This paper argues that there is a need to connect empirical studies of auditing to an overall theoretical framework, defining what “good government auditing” consists of, in order to study if such auditing has positive effects on public sector performance. The paper presents a definition of good government auditing which builds on three core principles: independence, pro-fessionalism and recognizing the people as the principal, which is operationalized and tested empir-ically in the paper. Using data from a unique worldwide expert survey, covering 122 countries, the results clearly demonstrate that good government auditing has a distinct positive and statistically significant effect of the performance of the public sector. These findings indicate that merely con-ducting audits of the public sector is not sufficient, auditing also needs to be organized according to certain principles, in order to contribute to well-functioning public administrations.