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Marginal Likelihood Estimation with the Cross-Entropy Method

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  • Chan, Joshua
  • Eisenstat, Eric

Abstract

We consider an adaptive importance sampling approach to estimating the marginal likelihood, a quantity that is fundamental in Bayesian model comparison and Bayesian model averaging. This approach is motivated by the difficulty of obtaining an accurate estimate through existing algorithms that use Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) draws, where the draws are typically costly to obtain and highly correlated in high-dimensional settings. In contrast, we use the cross-entropy (CE) method, a versatile adaptive Monte Carlo algorithm originally developed for rare-event simulation. The main advantage of the importance sampling approach is that random samples can be obtained from some convenient density with little additional costs. As we are generating independent draws instead of correlated MCMC draws, the increase in simulation effort is much smaller should one wish to reduce the numerical standard error of the estimator. Moreover, the importance density derived via the CE method is in a well-defined sense optimal. We demonstrate the utility of the proposed approach by two empirical applications involving women's labor market participation and U.S. macroeconomic time series. In both applications the proposed CE method compares favorably to existing estimators.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 40051.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:40051

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Keywords: importance sampling; model selection; probit; logit; time-varying parameter vector autoregressive model; dynamic factor model;

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  1. Chan, Joshua C.C. & Kroese, Dirk P., 2010. "Efficient estimation of large portfolio loss probabilities in t-copula models," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 205(2), pages 361-367, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Joshua C.C. Chan & Angelia L. Grant, 2014. "Fast Computation of the Deviance Information Criterion for Latent Variable Models," CAMA Working Papers 2014-09, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  2. Warne, Anders & Coenen, Günter & Christoffel, Kai, 2013. "Predictive likelihood comparisons with DSGE and DSGE-VAR models," Working Paper Series 1536, European Central Bank.

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