A New Cluster-Based Financial Vulnerability Indicator: The Analytical Concept and its Application for Stress Testing in a Post-Socialist Economy


wiiw Balkan Observatory Working Paper No. 100,

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This paper proposes a new approach to household financial vulnerability analysis by employing cluster analysis techniques in the identification of potentially vulnerable households. The cluster-based vulnerability indicator is combined with a binary dependant variable model and used in stress testing. The proposed methodology is applied to householdlevel data for a post-socialist economy – that of Croatia – with the specific aim of testing the extent to which the prolonged economic downturn following the Great Recession of 2008-2009 might hurt indebted households. The paper compares the results based on the new approach with those based on traditional stress testing methods. Interest rate shocks had a stronger impact on household vulnerability in the traditional approach, whereas decreases in employment are found to be more disruptive in the cluster-based approach.


Keywords: household financial vulnerability, cluster analysis, stress testing, Croatia

Countries covered: Croatia