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A Note on Selecting a Response Measure for Financial Distress

  • Terry J. Ward

    (Associate Professor of Accounting at Middle Tennessee State University,)

  • Benjamin P. Foster
Registered author(s):

    Since 1966, researchers have examined financial distress prediction models to determine the usefulness of accounting information to lenders. These researchers primarily used legal bankruptcy as the response variable for economic financial distress, or included legal bankruptcy with other events in dichotomous prediction models. However, theoretical models of financial distress normally define financial distress as an economic event, the inability to pay debts when due (insolvency). This study uses a loan default/accommodation response variable as a proxy for the inability to pay debts when due. The purpose of this note is to empirically test whether or not using the inability of a firm to pay debts when due, loan default/accommodation, as a response measure produces different results than using legal bankruptcy as the response measure. The study's empirical results show that legal bankruptcy and loan default/accommodation financial distress prediction models produce different statistical results, thus suggesting that the responses measure different constructs. A loan default/accommodation model also fits the data better than a bankrupt model. Our results suggest that a loan default/accommodation response may be a more appropriate measure to determine which accounting information is most useful to lenders in evaluating a firm's credit risk. Copyright Blackwell Publishers Ltd 1997.

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    Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Journal of Business Finance & Accounting.

    Volume (Year): 24 (1997-07)
    Issue (Month): 6 ()
    Pages: 869-879

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    Handle: RePEc:bla:jbfnac:v:24:y:1997-07:i:6:p:869-879
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