IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Steady-state priors for vector autoregressions


  • Mattias Villani


Bayesian priors are often used to restrain the otherwise highly over-parametrized vector autoregressive (VAR) models. The currently available Bayesian VAR methodology does not allow the user to specify prior beliefs about the unconditional mean, or steady state, of the system. This is unfortunate as the steady state is something that economists usually claim to know relatively well. This paper develops easily implemented methods for analyzing both stationary and cointegrated VARs, in reduced or structural form, with an informative prior on the steady state. We document that prior information on the steady state leads to substantial gains in forecasting accuracy on Swedish macro data. A second example illustrates the use of informative steady-state priors in a cointegration model of the consumption-wealth relationship in the USA. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Mattias Villani, 2009. "Steady-state priors for vector autoregressions," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(4), pages 630-650.
  • Handle: RePEc:jae:japmet:v:24:y:2009:i:4:p:630-650
    DOI: 10.1002/jae.1065

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Link to full text; subscription required
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    File Function: Supporting data files and programs
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Waggoner, Daniel F. & Zha, Tao, 2003. "Likelihood preserving normalization in multiple equation models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 114(2), pages 329-347, June.
    2. Waggoner, Daniel F. & Zha, Tao, 2003. "A Gibbs sampler for structural vector autoregressions," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 349-366, November.
    3. Strachan, Rodney W, 2003. "Valid Bayesian Estimation of the Cointegrating Error Correction Model," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 21(1), pages 185-195, January.
    4. Gary Koop & Simon M. Potter & Rodney W. Strachan, 2008. "Re-Examining the Consumption-Wealth Relationship: The Role of Model Uncertainty," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 40(2-3), pages 341-367, March.
    5. Martin Lettau & Sydney C. Ludvigson, 2004. "Understanding Trend and Cycle in Asset Values: Reevaluating the Wealth Effect on Consumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 276-299, March.
    6. Kleibergen, Frank & van Dijk, Herman K., 1994. "On the Shape of the Likelihood/Posterior in Cointegration Models," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(3-4), pages 514-551, August.
    7. Christopher A. Sims & Tao Zha, 1999. "Error Bands for Impulse Responses," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(5), pages 1113-1156, September.
    8. Marco Del Negro & Frank Schorfheide & Frank Smets & Raf Wouters, 2004. "On the fit and forecasting performance of New Keynesian models," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2004-37, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    9. Sims, Christopher A, 1980. "Macroeconomics and Reality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(1), pages 1-48, January.
    10. Strachan, Rodney W. & Inder, Brett, 2004. "Bayesian analysis of the error correction model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 123(2), pages 307-325, December.
    11. Clements,Michael & Hendry,David, 1998. "Forecasting Economic Time Series," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521632423, March.
    12. Warne, Anders & Villani, Mattias, 2003. "Monetary policy analysis in a small open economy using Bayesian cointegrated structural VARs," Working Paper Series 296, European Central Bank.
    13. Johansen, Soren, 1995. "Likelihood-Based Inference in Cointegrated Vector Autoregressive Models," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198774501, June.
    14. Bauwens, Luc & Lubrano, Michel & Richard, Jean-Francois, 2000. "Bayesian Inference in Dynamic Econometric Models," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198773139, June.
    15. 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 949-968, November.
    16. Schotman, Peter C & van Dijk, Herman K, 1991. "On Bayesian Routes to Unit Roots," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 6(4), pages 387-401, Oct.-Dec..
    17. Frank Smets & Rafael Wouters, 2007. "Shocks and Frictions in US Business Cycles: A Bayesian DSGE Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 586-606, June.
    18. Litterman, Robert B, 1986. "Forecasting with Bayesian Vector Autoregressions-Five Years of Experience," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 4(1), pages 25-38, January.
    19. Villani, Mattias, 2005. "Bayesian Reference Analysis Of Cointegration," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 21(02), pages 326-357, April.
    20. Kleibergen, Frank & Paap, Richard, 2002. "Priors, posteriors and bayes factors for a Bayesian analysis of cointegration," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 111(2), pages 223-249, December.
    21. John C. Robertson & Ellis W. Tallman, 1999. "Vector autoregressions: forecasting and reality," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Q1, pages 4-18.
    22. Kadiyala, K Rao & Karlsson, Sune, 1997. "Numerical Methods for Estimation and Inference in Bayesian VAR-Models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(2), pages 99-132, March-Apr.
    23. Villani, Mattias, 2005. "Inference in Vector Autoregressive Models with an Informative Prior on the Steady State," Working Paper Series 181, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
    24. Schotman, Peter & van Dijk, Herman K., 1991. "A Bayesian analysis of the unit root in real exchange rates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1-2), pages 195-238.
    25. Zha, Tao, 1999. "Block recursion and structural vector autoregressions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 90(2), pages 291-316, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:jae:japmet:v:24:y:2009:i:4:p:630-650. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.