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A Back-of-the-Envelope Rule to Identify Atheoretical VARs


  • Urzúa, Carlos M.

    () (Tecnológico de Monterrey, Campus Ciudad de México)


Vector autoregressive models are often used in Macroeconomics to draw conclusions about the effects of policy innovations. However, those results depend on the researcher’s priors about the particular ordering of the variables. As an alternative, this paper presents a simple rule based on the Maximum Entropy principle that can be used to find the “most likely” ordering. The proposal is illustrated in the case of a VAR model of the U.S. economy. It is found that monetary policy shocks are better represented by innovations in the federal funds rate rather than by innovations in non-borrowed reserves.

Suggested Citation

  • Urzúa, Carlos M., 2007. "A Back-of-the-Envelope Rule to Identify Atheoretical VARs," EGAP Working Papers 2007-03, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Campus Ciudad de México.
  • Handle: RePEc:ega:docume:200703

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Quah, Danny, 1989. "The Dynamic Effects of Aggregate Demand and Supply Disturbances," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 655-673, September.
    2. Uhlig, Harald, 2005. "What are the effects of monetary policy on output? Results from an agnostic identification procedure," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 381-419, March.
    3. Christiano, Lawrence J & Eichenbaum, Martin & Evans, Charles, 1996. "The Effects of Monetary Policy Shocks: Evidence from the Flow of Funds," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 16-34, February.
    4. Henry Kaiser, 1958. "The varimax criterion for analytic rotation in factor analysis," Psychometrika, Springer;The Psychometric Society, vol. 23(3), pages 187-200, September.
    5. Christiano, Lawrence J. & Eichenbaum, Martin & Evans, Charles L., 1999. "Monetary policy shocks: What have we learned and to what end?," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 65-148 Elsevier.
    6. Sims, Christopher A, 1980. "Macroeconomics and Reality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(1), pages 1-48, January.
    7. Christiano, Lawrence J. & Eichenbaum, Martin & Evans, Charles L., 1999. "Monetary policy shocks: What have we learned and to what end?," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 65-148 Elsevier.
    8. Marco Lippi & Lucrezia Reichlin, 1994. "Diffusion of Technical Change and the Decomposition of Output into Trend and Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(1), pages 19-30.
    9. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2001. "Vector Autoregressions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(4), pages 101-115, Fall.
    10. McCallum, Bennett T., 1983. "A reconsideration of Sims' evidence concerning monetarism," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 13(2-3), pages 167-171.
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    More about this item


    VAR; impulse-response functions; varimin; maximum entropy; monetary policy shocks;

    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
    • C51 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Construction and Estimation
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy

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