Estimation of Default Probabilities with Support Vector Machines
Predicting default probabilities is important for firms and banks to operate successfully and to estimate their specific risks. 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 estimate default probabilities of German firms. Our analysis is based on the Creditreform database. The results reveal that the most important eight predictors related to bankruptcy for these German firms belong to the ratios of activity, profitability, liquidity, leverage and the percentage of incremental inventories. Based on the performance measures, the SVM tool can predict a firms default risk and identify the insolvent firm more accurately than the benchmark logit model. The sensitivity investigation and a corresponding visualization tool reveal that the classifying ability of SVM appears to be superior over a wide range of the SVM parameters. Based on the nonparametric Nadaraya-Watson estimator, the expected returns predicted by the SVM for regression have a significant positive linear relationship with the risk scores obtained for classification. This evidence is stronger than empirical results for the CAPM based on a linear regression and confirms that higher risks need to be compensated by higher potential returns.
|Date of creation:||Nov 2006|
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