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Laurent Carlino

22 May 2017
Analysis of consolidated accounting data of European listed groups shows significant differences in some key ratios between countries However, the figures do not reveal whether these differences result from a distinct composition of the countries’ populations in terms of branches of activity (structural effect) or from intrinsic disparities in the behaviour of groups from various countries. This paper will address this issue using ratio decomposition techniques. A comparative overview of decomposition methodologies available in the literature will be provided, as well as an in-depth description of the methodology used. This will be applied to decompose the difference in the financial debt ratio, the equity ratio and the EBIT margin across countries for one specific year and to consider any dissimilarities in financial debt ratios over a limited period of time. The study will be based on the data available in the ERICA dataset from the European Committee of Central Balance Sheet Data Offices (ECCBSO), which includes accounting data of listed groups from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain. The aggregate ratios of each country will be compared against a benchmark composed of the aggregate ratios for the eight countries together.
JEL Code
C43 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics→Index Numbers and Aggregation
L22 : Industrial Organization→Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior→Firm Organization and Market Structure
L25 : Industrial Organization→Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior→Firm Performance: Size, Diversification, and Scope
M4 : Business Administration and Business Economics, Marketing, Accounting→Accounting and Auditing