Journal of Credit Risk

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A fifty-year retrospective on credit risk models, the Altman Z-score family of models and their applications to financial markets and managerial strategies

Edward I Altman

Fifty years ago, in 1967, I completed my PhD dissertation, which involved the first multivariate model for predicting the financial health of US manufacturing firms and whether or not they were likely to file for bankruptcy. That work was followed shortly afterward (in 1968) by the publication of the model’s specifications. Despite its “old age”, the Altman Z-score is still the standard against which most other bankruptcy or default prediction models are measured and is clearly the most used by financial market practitioners and academic scholars for a variety of purposes. The objective of this paper is to reflect upon the evolution of the Altman family of bankruptcy prediction models, as well as their extensions and multiple applications in financial markets and managerial decision making.

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