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Bayesian VARs: specification choices and forecast accuracy

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  • Andrea Carriero
  • Todd Clark
  • Massimiliano Marcellino

Abstract

In this paper we examine how the forecasting performance of Bayesian VARs is affected by a number of specification choices. In the baseline case, we use a Normal-Inverted Wishart prior that, when combined with a (pseudo-) iterated approach, makes the analytical computation of multi-step forecasts feasible and simple, in particular when using standard and fixed values for the tightness and the lag length. We then assess the role of the optimal choice of the tightness, of the lag length and of both; compare alternative approaches to multi-step forecasting (direct, iterated, and pseudo-iterated); discuss the treatment of the error variance and of cross-variable shrinkage; and address a set of additional issues, including the size of the VAR, modeling in levels or growth rates, and the extent of forecast bias induced by shrinkage. We obtain a large set of empirical results, but we can summarize them by saying that we find very small losses (and sometimes even gains) from the adoption of specification choices that make BVAR modeling quick and easy. This finding could therefore further enhance the diffusion of the BVAR as an econometric tool for a vast range of applications.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland in its series Working Paper with number 1112.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedcwp:1112

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Keywords: Bayesian statistical decision theory ; Forecasting ; Vector autoregression;

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  1. 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.
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  6. Marco Del Negro & Frank Schorfheide, 2004. "Priors from General Equilibrium Models for VARS," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(2), pages 643-673, 05.
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  9. A. Carriero & G. Kapetanios & M. Marcellino, 2010. "Forecasting Government Bond Yields with Large Bayesian VARs," Economics Working Papers ECO2010/17, European University Institute.
  10. Massimiliano Marcellino & James Stock & Mark Watson, 2005. "A Comparison of Direct and Iterated Multistep AR Methods for Forecasting Macroeconomic Time Series," Working Papers 285, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  11. Jean Boivin & Serena Ng, 2003. "Are More Data Always Better for Factor Analysis?," NBER Working Papers 9829, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  14. Todd E. Clark & Michael W. McCracken, 2007. "Forecasting with small macroeconomic VARs in the presence of instabilities," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2007-41, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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  16. Carriero, A. & Kapetanios, G. & Marcellino, M., 2009. "Forecasting exchange rates with a large Bayesian VAR," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 400-417.
  17. Lewis, Kurt F. & Whiteman, Charles H., 2006. "Empirical Bayesian density forecasting in Iowa and shrinkage for the Monte Carlo era," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2006,28, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  18. Giannone, Domenico & Lenza, Michele & Momferatou, Daphne & Onorante, Luca, 2010. "Short-Term Inflation Projections: a Bayesian Vector Autoregressive approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 7746, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  19. Marta Bańbura, 2008. "Large Bayesian VARs," 2008 Meeting Papers 334, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Gary Koop & Dimitris Korobilis, 2012. "Large Time-Varying Parameter VARs," Working Paper Series 11_12, The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
  2. Carriero, Andrea & Clark, Todd & Marcellino, Massimiliano, 2013. "Real-Time Nowcasting with a Bayesian Mixed Frequency Model with Stochastic Volatility," CEPR Discussion Papers 9312, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Kenneth Beauchemin & Saeed Zaman, 2011. "A medium scale forecasting model for monetary policy," Working Paper 1128, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  4. Domenico Giannone & Michèle Lenza & Giorgio E. Primiceri, 2012. "Prior Selection for Vector Autoregressions," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2012-002, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  5. Brent Meyer & Saeed Zaman, 2013. "It’s not just for inflation: The usefulness of the median CPI in BVAR forecasting," Working Paper 1303, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  6. Barnett, Alina & Mumtaz, Haroon & Theodoridis, Konstantinos, 2012. "Forecasting UK GDP growth, inflation and interest rates under structural change: a comparison of models with time-varying parameters," Bank of England working papers 450, Bank of England.
  7. Karlsson, Sune, 2012. "Forecasting with Bayesian Vector Autoregressions," Working Papers 2012:12, Örebro University, School of Business.
  8. Gary, Koop, 2013. "Using VARs and TVP-VARs with Many Macroeconomic Variables," SIRE Discussion Papers 2013-35, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
  9. Koop, Gary, 2014. "Forecasting with dimension switching VARs," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 280-290.
  10. Todd E. Clark & Michael W. McCracken, 2013. "Evaluating the accuracy of forecasts from vector autoregressions," Working Papers 2013-010, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

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