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Why Agnostic Sign Restrictions Are Not Enough: Understanding The Dynamics Of Oil Market Var Models

  • Lutz Kilian
  • Daniel P. Murphy

Sign restrictions on the responses generated by structural vector autoregressive models have been proposed as an alternative approach to the use of exclusion restrictions on the impact multiplier matrix. In recent years such models have been increasingly used to identify demand and supply shocks in the market for crude oil. We demonstrate that sign restrictions alone are insufficient to infer the responses of the real price of oil to such shocks. Moreover, the conventional assumption that all admissible models are equally likely is routinely violated in oil market models, calling into question the use of median responses to characterize the responses to structural shocks. When combining sign restrictions with additional empirically plausible bounds on the magnitude of the short-run oil supply elasticity and on the impact response of real activity, however, it is possible to reduce the set of admissible model solutions to a small number of qualitatively similar estimates. The resulting model estimates are broadly consistent with earlier results regarding the relative importance of demand and supply shocks for the real price of oil based on structural VAR models identified by exclusion restrictions, but imply very different dynamics from the median responses in VAR models based on sign restrictions only.

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Article provided by European Economic Association in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 10 (2012)
Issue (Month): 5 (October)
Pages: 1166-1188

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jeurec:v:10:y:2012:i:5:p:1166-1188
DOI: j.1542-4774.2012.01080.x
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  2. Sílvia Gonçalves & Lutz Kilian, 2003. "Bootstrapping Autoregressions with Conditional Heteroskedasticity of Unknown Form," CIRANO Working Papers 2003s-17, CIRANO.
  3. Christiane Baumeister & Gert Peersman & Ine Van Robays, 2010. "The Economic Consequences of Oil Shocks: Differences across Countries and Time," RBA Annual Conference Volume, in: Renée Fry & Callum Jones & Christopher Kent (ed.), Inflation in an Era of Relative Price Shocks Reserve Bank of Australia.
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  9. Robert B. Barsky & Lutz Kilian, 2002. "Do We Really Know that Oil Caused the Great Stagflation? A Monetary Alternative," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2001, Volume 16, pages 137-198 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  11. Lucas W. Davis & Lutz Kilian, 2011. "Estimating the effect of a gasoline tax on carbon emissions," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(7), pages 1187-1214, November.
  12. Scholl, Almuth & Uhlig, Harald, 2008. "New evidence on the puzzles: Results from agnostic identification on monetary policy and exchange rates," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 1-13, September.
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  16. Lutz Kilian, 2010. "Explaining Fluctuations in Gasoline Prices: A Joint Model of the Global Crude Oil Market and the U.S. Retail Gasoline Market," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 87-112.
  17. Alquist, Ron & Kilian, Lutz, 2007. "What Do We Learn from the Price of Crude Oil Futures?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6548, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. G. Peersman, 2004. "What caused the early millennium slowdown? Evidence based on vector autoregressions," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 04/235, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
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