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Nataša Šarlija and Martina Harc

The impact of liquidity on the capital structure: a case study of Croatian firms

Background: Previous studies have shown that in some countries, liquid assets increased leverage while in other countries liquid firms were more frequently financed by their own capital and therefore were less leveraged. Objectives: The aim of this paper is to investigate the impact of liquidity on the capital structure of Croatian firms. Methods/Approach: Pearson correlation coefficient is applied to the test on the relationship between liquidity ratios and debt ratios, the share of retained earnings to capital and liquidity ratios and the relationship between the structure of current assets and leverage. Results: A survey has been conducted on a sample of 1058 Croatian firms. There are statistically significant correlations between liquidity ratios and leverage ratios. Also, there are statistically significant correlations between leverage ratios and the structure of current assets. The relationship between liquidity ratios and the short-term leverage is stronger than between liquidity ratios and the long-term leverage. Conclusions: The more liquid assets firms have, the less they are leveraged. Long-term leveraged firms are more liquid. Increasing inventory levels leads to an increase in leverage. Furthermore, increasing the cash in current assets leads to a reduction in the short-term and the long-term leverage.

Open access

Ana Bilandžić, Jeger Marina and Nataša Šarlija

Abstract

Background: Alongside the theoretical progress made in understanding the factors that influence firm growth, many methodological challenges are yet to be overcome. Authors point to the notion of interpretability of growth prediction models as an important prerequisite for further advancement of the field as well as enhancement of models’ practical values.

Objectives: The objective of this study is to demonstrate the application of factor analysis for the purpose of increasing overall interpretability of the logistic regression model. The comprehensive nature of the growth phenomenon implies propensity of input data to be mutually correlated. In such situations, growth prediction models can demonstrate adequate predictability and accuracy, but still lack the clarity and theoretical soundness in their structure.

Methods/Approach: The paper juxtaposes two prediction models: the first one is built using solely the logistic regression procedure, while the second one includes factor analysis prior to development of a logistic regression model.

Results: Factor analysis enables researchers to mitigate inconsistencies and misalignments with a theoretical background in growth prediction models.

Conclusions: Incorporating factor analysis as a step preceding the building of a regression model allows researchers to lessen model interpretability issues and create a model that is easier to understand, explain and apply in real-life business situations.

Open access

Marijana Zekić-Sušac, Sanja Pfeifer and Nataša Šarlija

Abstract

Background: Large-dimensional data modelling often relies on variable reduction methods in the pre-processing and in the post-processing stage. However, such a reduction usually provides less information and yields a lower accuracy of the model. Objectives: The aim of this paper is to assess the high-dimensional classification problem of recognizing entrepreneurial intentions of students by machine learning methods. Methods/Approach: Four methods were tested: artificial neural networks, CART classification trees, support vector machines, and k-nearest neighbour on the same dataset in order to compare their efficiency in the sense of classification accuracy. The performance of each method was compared on ten subsamples in a 10-fold cross-validation procedure in order to assess computing sensitivity and specificity of each model. Results: The artificial neural network model based on multilayer perceptron yielded a higher classification rate than the models produced by other methods. The pairwise t-test showed a statistical significance between the artificial neural network and the k-nearest neighbour model, while the difference among other methods was not statistically significant. Conclusions: Tested machine learning methods are able to learn fast and achieve high classification accuracy. However, further advancement can be assured by testing a few additional methodological refinements in machine learning methods.

Open access

Mirjana Pejić Bach, Sandro Juković, Ksenija Dumičić and Nataša Šarlija

Abstract

Segmentation in banking for the business client market is traditionally based on size measured in terms of income and the number of employees, and on statistical clustering methods (e.g. hierarchical clustering, k-means). The goal of the paper is to demonstrate that self-organizing maps (SOM) effectively extend the pool of possible criteria for segmentation of the business client market with more relevant criteria, including behavioral, demographic, personal, operational, situational, and cross-selling products. In order to attain the goal of the paper, the dataset on business clients of several banks in Croatia, which, besides size, incorporates a number of different criteria, is analyzed using the SOM-Ward clustering algorithm of Viscovery SOMine software. The SOM-Ward algorithm extracted three segments that differ with respect to the attributes of foreign trade operations (import/export), annual income, origin of capital, important bank selection criteria, views on the loan selection and the industry. The analyzed segments can be used by banks for deciding on the direction of further marketing activities.