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Priors about Observables in Vector Autoregressions

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  • Marek Jarocinski
  • Albert Marcet

Abstract

Standard practice in Bayesian VARs is to formulate priors on the autoregressive parameters, but economists and policy makers actually have priors about the behavior of observable variables. We show how this kind of prior can be used in a VAR under strict probability theory principles. We state the inverse problem to be solved and we propose a numerical algorithm that works well in practical situations with a very large number of parameters. We prove various convergence theorems for the algorithm. As an application, we first show that the results in Christiano et al. (1999) are very sensitive to the introduction of various priors that are widely used. These priors turn out to be associated with undesirable priors on observables. But an empirical prior on observables helps clarify the relevance of these estimates: we find much higher persistence of output responses to monetary policy shocks than the one reported in Christiano et al. (1999) and a significantly larger total effect.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 684.

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Date of creation: Mar 2013
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Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:684

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Keywords: vector autoregression; Bayesian estimation; prior about observables; inverse problem; monetary policy shocks;

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References

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  1. Marek Jarocinski & Albert Marcet, 2011. "Autoregressions in Small Samples, Priors about Observables and Initial Conditions," CEP Discussion Papers dp1061, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. Christiano, Lawrence J. & Trabandt, Mathias & Walentin, Karl, 2007. "Introducing Financial Frictions and Unemployment into a Small Open Economy Model," Working Paper Series 214, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden), revised 01 Jun 2011.
  3. Mattias Villani, 2009. "Steady-state priors for vector autoregressions," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(4), pages 630-650.
  4. Marcet, Albert & Sargent, Thomas J., 1989. "Convergence of least squares learning mechanisms in self-referential linear stochastic models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 337-368, August.
  5. Robert B. Litterman, 1985. "Forecasting with Bayesian vector autoregressions five years of experience," Working Papers 274, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  6. Ivan A. Canay & Andres Santos & Azeem M. Shaikh, 2013. "On the Testability of Identification in Some Nonparametric Models With Endogeneity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(6), pages 2535-2559, November.
  7. Stéphane Bonhomme & Jean-Marc Robin, 2008. "Generalized nonparametric deconvolution with an application to earnings dynamics," CeMMAP working papers CWP03/08, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  8. Whitney K. Newey & James L. Powell, 2003. "Instrumental Variable Estimation of Nonparametric Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1565-1578, 09.
  9. Sims, Christopher A & Zha, Tao, 1998. "Bayesian Methods for Dynamic Multivariate Models," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(4), pages 949-68, November.
  10. Kadane, Joseph B. & Chan, Ngai Hang & Wolfson, Lara J., 1996. "Priors for unit root models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 99-111, November.
  11. Adjemian, Stéphane & Bastani, Houtan & Karamé, Fréderic & Juillard, Michel & Maih, Junior & Mihoubi, Ferhat & Perendia, George & Pfeifer, Johannes & Ratto, Marco & Villemot, Sébastien, 2011. "Dynare: Reference Manual Version 4," Dynare Working Papers 1, CEPREMAP, revised Apr 2014.
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