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Credit risk drivers: evaluating the contribution of firm level information and macroeconomic dynamics

Ano de Divulgação 
Understanding if credit risk is driven mostly by idiosyncratic firm characteristics or by systematic factors is an important issue for the assessment of financial stability. By exploring the links between credit risk and macroeconomic developments, we observe that in periods of economic growth there may be some tendency towards excessive risk-taking. Using an extensive dataset with detailed information for more than 30 000 firms, we show that default probabilities are influenced by several firm-specific characteristics. When time-effect controls or macroeconomic variables are also taken into account, the results improve substantially. Hence, though the firms’ financial situation has a central role in explaining default probabilities, macroeconomic conditions are also very important when assessing default probabilities over time.