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Why Agnostic Sign Restrictions Are Not Enough: Understanding the Dynamics of Oil Market VAR Models

  • Kilian, Lutz
  • Murphy, Daniel P

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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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7471.

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Date of creation: Sep 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7471
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  1. Gert Peersman & Ine Van Robays, 2009. "Oil and the Euro area economy," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 24, pages 603-651, October.
  2. Lutz Kilian, 2009. "Not All Oil Price Shocks Are Alike: Disentangling Demand and Supply Shocks in the Crude Oil Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 1053-69, June.
  3. Lutz Kilian & Alessandro Rebucci & Nikola Spatafora, 2007. "Oil Shocks and External Balances," Working Papers 562, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  4. 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.
  5. G. Peersman & I. Van Robays & -, 2009. "Cross-Country Differences in the Effects of Oil Shocks," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 09/629, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  6. C. Baumeister & G. Peersman & -, 2010. "Sources of the Volatility Puzzle in the Crude Oil Market," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 10/634, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  7. Goncalves, Silvia & Kilian, Lutz, 2004. "Bootstrapping autoregressions with conditional heteroskedasticity of unknown form," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 123(1), pages 89-120, November.
  8. Jon Faust, 1998. "The robustness of identified VAR conclusions about money," International Finance Discussion Papers 610, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  9. Bodenstein, Martin & Erceg, Christopher J. & Guerrieri, Luca, 2011. "Oil shocks and external adjustment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 168-184, March.
  10. Davis, Lucas W & Kilian, Lutz, 2009. "Estimating the Effect of a Gasoline Tax on Carbon Emissions," CEPR Discussion Papers 7161, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Robert B. Barsky & Lutz Kilian, 2001. "Do We Really Know that Oil Caused the Great Stagflation? A Monetary Alternative," NBER Working Papers 8389, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Francesco Lippi & Andrea Nobili, 2010. "Oil and the Macroeconomy: A Quantitative Structural Analysis," EIEF Working Papers Series 1009, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Apr 2010.
  13. Gert Peersman, 2005. "What caused the early millennium slowdown? Evidence based on vector autoregressions," Bank of England working papers 272, Bank of England.
  14. 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.
  15. Neville Francis & Michael T. Owyang & Jennifer E. Roush, 2005. "A flexible finite-horizon identification of technology shocks," International Finance Discussion Papers 832, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  16. Juan Francisco Rubio-Ramírez & Daniel Waggoner & Tao Zha, 2005. "Markov-switching structural vector autoregressions: theory and application," Working Paper 2005-27, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  17. C. Baumeister & G. Peersman, 2008. "Time-Varying Effects of Oil Supply Shocks on the US Economy," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 08/515, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  18. Almuth Scholl & Harald Uhlig, 2005. "New Evidence on the Puzzles. Results from Agnostic Identification on Monetary Policy and Exchange Rates," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2005-037, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  19. Lutz Kilian, 2008. "The Economic Effects of Energy Price Shocks," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(4), pages 871-909, December.
  20. 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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