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Common drifting volatility in large Bayesian VARs

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  • Andrea Carriero
  • Todd E. Clark
  • Massimiliano Marcellino

Abstract

The estimation of large vector autoregressions with stochastic volatility using standard methods is computationally very demanding. In this paper we propose to model conditional volatilities as driven by a single common unobserved factor.> This is justified by the observation that the pattern of estimated volatilities in empirical analyses is often very similar across variables. Using a combination of a standard natural conjugate prior for the VAR coefficients and an independent prior on a common stochastic volatility factor, we derive the posterior densities for the parameters of the resulting BVAR with common stochastic volatility (BVAR-CSV). Under the chosen prior, the conditional posterior of the VAR coefficients features a Kroneker structure that allows for fast estimation, even in a large system. Using US and UK data, we show that, compared to a model with constant volatilities, our proposed common volatility model significantly improves model fit and forecast accuracy. The gains are comparable to or as great as the gains achieved with a conventional stochastic volatility specification that allows independent volatility processes for each variable. But our common volatility specification greatly speeds computations.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland in its series Working Paper with number 1206.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedcwp:1206

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Keywords: Economic forecasting ; Bayesian statistical decision theory ; Econometric models ; Estimation theory;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Andrea Carriero & Todd E. Clark & Massimiliano Marcellino, 2012. "Real-time nowcasting with a Bayesian mixed frequency model with stochastic volatility," Working Paper 1227, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  2. Koop, Gary & Korobilis, Dimitris, 2013. "Large time-varying parameter VARs," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 177(2), pages 185-198.
  3. Todd E. Clark & Francesco Ravazzolo, 2012. "The macroeconomic forecasting performance of autoregressive models with alternative specifications of time-varying volatility," Working Paper 2012/09, Norges Bank.
  4. Christine Garnier & Elmar Mertens & Edward Nelson, 2013. "Trend inflation in advanced economies," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2013-74, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

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