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Business cycle analysis and VARMA models

Can long-run identified structural vector autoregressions (SVARs) discriminate between competing models in practice? Several authors have suggested SVARs fail partly because they are fiite-order approx-imations to infinite-order processes. We estimate vector autoregressive moving average (VARMA) and state space models, which are not misspecified, using simulated data and compare true with estimated impulse responses of hours worked to a technology shock. We find few gains from using VARMA models. However, state space algorithms can outperform SVARs. In particular, the CCA subspace method consistently yields lower mean squared errors, although even these estimates remain too imprecise for reliable inference. The qualitative differences for algorithms based on different representations are small. The comparison with estimation methods without specification error suggests that the main problem is not one of working with a VAR approximation. The properties of the processes used in the literature make identification via long-run restrictions difficult for any method.

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Paper provided by Norges Bank in its series Working Paper with number 2008/05.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: 30 Apr 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bno:worpap:2008_05
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