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Modeling default risk with support vector machines

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  • Shiyi Chen
  • W. K. Hardle
  • R. A. Moro

Abstract

Predicting default risk is important for firms and banks to operate successfully. There are many reasons to use nonlinear techniques for predicting bankruptcy from financial ratios. Here we propose the so-called Support Vector Machine (SVM) to predict the default risk of German firms. Our analysis is based on the Creditreform database. In all tests performed in this paper the nonlinear model classified by SVM exceeds the benchmark logit model, based on the same predictors, in terms of the performance metric, AR. The empirical evidence is in favor of the SVM for classification, especially in the linear non-separable case. The sensitivity investigation and a corresponding visualization tool reveal that the classifying ability of SVM appears to be superior over a wide range of SVM parameters. In terms of the empirical results obtained by SVM, the eight most important predictors related to bankruptcy for these German firms belong to the ratios of activity, profitability, liquidity, leverage and the percentage of incremental inventories. Some of the financial ratios selected by the SVM model are new because they have a strong nonlinear dependence on the default risk but a weak linear dependence that therefore cannot be captured by the usual linear models such as the DA and logit models.

Suggested Citation

  • Shiyi Chen & W. K. Hardle & R. A. Moro, 2011. "Modeling default risk with support vector machines," Quantitative Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(1), pages 135-154.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:quantf:v:11:y:2011:i:1:p:135-154 DOI: 10.1080/14697680903410015
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Huseyin Ozturk & Ersin Namli & Halil Ibrahim Erdal, 2016. "Reducing Overreliance on Sovereign Credit Ratings: Which Model Serves Better?," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 48(1), pages 59-81, June.
    2. Ozturk, Huseyin & Namli, Ersin & Erdal, Halil Ibrahim, 2016. "Modelling sovereign credit ratings: The accuracy of models in a heterogeneous sample," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 469-478.
    3. Slawomir Juszczyk & Rafal Balina, 2013. "Effectiveness of Polish and Foreign Disdcriminant Models," Diversity, Technology, and Innovation for Operational Competitiveness: Proceedings of the 2013 International Conference on Technology Innovation and Industrial Management, ToKnowPress.
    4. Maciej Zieba & Wolfgang K. Härdle, 2016. "Beta-boosted ensemble for big credit scoring data," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2016-052, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
    5. Wolfgang Karl Härdle & Dedy Dwi Prastyo, 2013. "Default Risk Calculation based on Predictor Selection for the Southeast Asian Industry," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2013-037, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
    6. Wolgang Karl Härdle & Li-Shan Huang, 2013. "Analysis of Deviance in Generalized Partial Linear Models," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2013-028, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.

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