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Estimating corporate bankruptcy forecasting models by maximizing discriminatory power

Chris Charalambous (), Spiros H. Martzoukos () and Zenon Taoushianis ()
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Chris Charalambous: University of Cyprus
Spiros H. Martzoukos: University of Cyprus
Zenon Taoushianis: University of Southampton

Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, 2022, vol. 58, issue 1, No 9, 297-328

Abstract: Abstract In this paper, we estimate coefficients of bankruptcy forecasting models, such as logistic and neural network models, by maximizing their discriminatory power as measured by the Area Under Receiver Operating Characteristics (AUROC) curve. A method is introduced and compared with traditional logistic and neural network models, using out-of-sample analysis, in terms of discriminatory power, information content and economic impact while we forecast bankruptcy one year ahead, two years ahead but also financial distress, which is a situation that precedes firm bankruptcy. Using US public firms over the period 1990–2015, in all, we find that training models to maximize AUROC, provides more accurate out-of-sample forecasts relative to training them with traditional methods, such as maximizing the log-likelihood function, highlighting the benefits arising by using models with maximized AUROC. Among all models, however, a neural network trained with our method is the best performing one, even when we compare it with other methods proposed in the literature to maximize AUROC. Finally, our results are more pronounced when we increase the forecasting difficulty, such as forecasting financial distress. The implementation of our method to train bankruptcy models is robust in various settings and therefore well-justified.

Keywords: Bankruptcy Forecasting; Discriminatory Power; AUROC; Optimization; Economic Benefits (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C18 C45 C53 C61 G33 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1007/s11156-021-00995-0

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