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Characterising economic trends by Bayesian stochastic model specification search


  • Grassi, S.
  • Proietti, T.


A recently proposed Bayesian model selection technique, stochastic model specification search, is carried out to discriminate between two trend generation hypotheses. The first is the trend-stationary hypothesis, for which the trend is a deterministic function of time and the short run dynamics are represented by a stationary autoregressive process. The second is the difference-stationary hypothesis, according to which the trend results from the cumulation of the effects of random disturbances. A difference-stationary process may originate in two ways: from an unobserved components process adding up an integrated trend and an orthogonal transitory component, or implicitly from an autoregressive process with roots on the unit circle. The different trend generation hypotheses are nested within an encompassing linear state space model. After a reparameterisation in non-centred form, the empirical evidence supporting a particular hypothesis is obtained by performing variable selection on the model components, using a suitably designed Gibbs sampling scheme. The methodology is illustrated with reference to a set of US macroeconomic time series which includes the traditional Nelson and Plosser dataset. The conclusion is that most series are better represented by autoregressive models with time-invariant intercept and slope and coefficients that are close to boundary of the stationarity region. The posterior distribution of the autoregressive parameters provides useful insight on quasi-integrated nature of the specifications selected.

Suggested Citation

  • Grassi, S. & Proietti, T., 2014. "Characterising economic trends by Bayesian stochastic model specification search," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 359-374.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:csdana:v:71:y:2014:i:c:p:359-374 DOI: 10.1016/j.csda.2013.02.024

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Tommaso Proietti & Stefano Grassi, 2015. "Stochastic trends and seasonality in economic time series: new evidence from Bayesian stochastic model specification search," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 48(3), pages 983-1011, May.
    2. Filippo Ferroni & Stefano Grassi & Miguel A. Leon-Ledesma, 2015. "Fundamental shock selection in DSGE models," Studies in Economics 1508, School of Economics, University of Kent.

    More about this item


    Bayesian model selection; Stationarity; Unit roots; Stochastic trends; Variable selection;

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • C52 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection
    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes


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