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Incorporating the dynamics of leverage into default prediction

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  • Löffler, Gunter
  • Maurer, Alina

Abstract

A firm’s current leverage ratio is one of the core characteristics of credit quality used in statistical default prediction models. Based on the capital structure literature, which shows that leverage is mean-reverting to a target leverage, we forecast future leverage ratios and include them in the set of default risk drivers. An out-of-sample analysis of default predictions from a hazard model reveals that the discriminative power increases substantially when leverage forecasts are included. We further document that credit ratings contain information beyond the one contained in standard variables but that this information is unrelated to forecasts of leverage ratios.

Suggested Citation

  • Löffler, Gunter & Maurer, Alina, 2011. "Incorporating the dynamics of leverage into default prediction," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(12), pages 3351-3361.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbfina:v:35:y:2011:i:12:p:3351-3361
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jbankfin.2011.05.015
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Emilia Bonaccorsi di Patti & Alessio D’Ignazio & Marco Gallo & Giacinto Micucci, 2015. "The Role of Leverage in Firm Solvency: Evidence From Bank Loans," Italian Economic Journal: A Continuation of Rivista Italiana degli Economisti and Giornale degli Economisti, Springer;Società Italiana degli Economisti (Italian Economic Association), vol. 1(2), pages 253-286, July.
    2. Wang, Li-Hsun & Lin, Chu-Hsiung & Fung, Hung-Gay & Chen, Hsien-Ming, 2015. "Governance mechanisms and downside risk," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 35(PB), pages 485-498.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Default prediction; Discrete duration model; Leverage targeting; Mean reversion; Credit rating;

    JEL classification:

    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G33 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Bankruptcy; Liquidation

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