We undertake an examination of the effectiveness of the different forms of public oversight and independent inspection regimes that have been put in place by the various national public oversight bodies of the auditing profession. Using a large sample of companies from 33 countries over the period 2006-2010, we find that audit quality is higher in countries where independent inspections are in place and are member of IFIAR. In order to control for potential endogeneity concerns, we then limit our examination to countries that introduced independent inspection programs during our sample period, and we find that audit quality is higher in the period after inspections are introduced compared to the pre-inspection period. Our results, however, do not support an association between the different ways of organizing public oversight and audit quality. This provides evidence that the existence of public oversight and independent inspections has an impact on audit quality, but not the characteristics of the inspection programs. Overall, our study contributes to the emerging literature on public oversight of the auditing profession.