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Information, data dimension and factor structure


  • Jan Jacobs
  • Pieter Otter
  • Ard den Reijer


This paper employs concepts from information theory to choosing the dimension of a data set. We calculate relative measures of information in the data in terms of eigenvalues and derive criteria to determine the 'optimal' size of the data set, in particular whether an extra variable adds information. The methods can be used as a first step in the construction of a dynamic factor model or a leading index, as illustrated with a macroeconomic data set on The Netherlands.

Suggested Citation

  • Jan Jacobs & Pieter Otter & Ard den Reijer, 2007. "Information, data dimension and factor structure," DNB Working Papers 150, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:dnb:dnbwpp:150

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Forni, Mario & Lippi, Marco, 2001. "The Generalized Dynamic Factor Model: Representation Theory," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(06), pages 1113-1141, December.
    2. Jushan Bai & Serena Ng, 2002. "Determining the Number of Factors in Approximate Factor Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 191-221, January.
    3. Bai, Jushan & Ng, Serena, 2007. "Determining the Number of Primitive Shocks in Factor Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 25, pages 52-60, January.
    4. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2005. "Implications of Dynamic Factor Models for VAR Analysis," NBER Working Papers 11467, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Boivin, Jean & Ng, Serena, 2006. "Are more data always better for factor analysis?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 132(1), pages 169-194, May.
    6. Mario Forni & Marc Hallin & Marco Lippi & Lucrezia Reichlin, 2000. "The Generalized Dynamic-Factor Model: Identification And Estimation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(4), pages 540-554, November.
    7. Robert Inklaar & Jan Jacobs & Ward Romp, 2005. "Business Cycle Indexes: Does a Heap of Data Help?," Journal of Business Cycle Measurement and Analysis, OECD Publishing, Centre for International Research on Economic Tendency Surveys, vol. 2004(3), pages 309-336.
    8. Alexei Onatski, 2009. "Testing Hypotheses About the Number of Factors in Large Factor Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(5), pages 1447-1479, September.
    9. Bai, Jushan & Ng, Serena, 2008. "Forecasting economic time series using targeted predictors," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 146(2), pages 304-317, October.
    10. Hui Zou & Trevor Hastie, 2005. "Addendum: Regularization and variable selection via the elastic net," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series B, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 67(5), pages 768-768.
    11. Jan Jacobs & Pieter Otter, 2008. "Determining the Number of Factors and Lag Order in Dynamic Factor Models: A Minimum Entropy Approach," Econometric Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(4-6), pages 385-397.
    12. Bai, Jushan & Ng, Serena, 2008. "Large Dimensional Factor Analysis," Foundations and Trends(R) in Econometrics, now publishers, vol. 3(2), pages 89-163, June.
    13. Stock J.H. & Watson M.W., 2002. "Forecasting Using Principal Components From a Large Number of Predictors," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 97, pages 1167-1179, December.
    14. Hui Zou & Trevor Hastie, 2005. "Regularization and variable selection via the elastic net," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series B, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 67(2), pages 301-320.
    15. Hallin, Marc & Liska, Roman, 2007. "Determining the Number of Factors in the General Dynamic Factor Model," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 102, pages 603-617, June.
    16. Jushan Bai, 2003. "Inferential Theory for Factor Models of Large Dimensions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(1), pages 135-171, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Klaus Abberger & Michael Graff & Boriss Siliverstovs & Jan-Egbert Sturm, 2014. "The KOF Economic Barometer, Version 2014," KOF Working papers 14-353, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
    2. Ard Reijer, 2013. "Forecasting Dutch GDP and inflation using alternative factor model specifications based on large and small datasets," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 44(2), pages 435-453, April.

    More about this item


    information; data set dimension; dynamic factor models; leading index.;

    JEL classification:

    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • C52 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection
    • C82 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Macroeconomic Data; Data Access

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