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Identification of macroeconomic factors in large panels

  • Lasse BORK
  • Hans DEWACHTER
  • Romain HOUSSA

This paper presents a dynamic factor model in which the extracted factors and shocks are given a clear economic interpretation. The economic interpretation of the factors is obtained by means of a set of over-identifying loading restrictions, while the structural shocks are estimated following standard practices in the SVAR literature. Estimators based on the EM algorithm are developped. We apply this framework to a large panel of US monthly macroeconomic series. In particular, we identify nine macroeconomic factors and discuss the economic impact of monetary policy stocks. The results are theoretically plausible and in line with other findings in the literature. The first part of this paper uses quantitative methods to assess the success of party affiliation, personal interests and the economic profile of the constituencies in predicting voting behavior. Thanks to the detailed censuses of 1846 on agriculture, industry and population, it is possible to typify the economic make-up of the electoral districts in much more detail than in the British case. However, the analysis of roll-call voting proves that party affiliation and personal and constituency economic interests are insufficient to explain the shift towards free trade. The second part of the paper then discusses the role played by political strategy and ideas in the liberalization of corn tariffs, using a qualitative analysis of the debates on tariff policy. The large number of votes over a forty year period allows us to document the relationship between ideas and interests in a new way.

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Paper provided by Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën in its series Center for Economic Studies - Discussion papers with number ces09.18.

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Date of creation: Sep 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ete:ceswps:ces09.18
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