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Prior parameter uncertainty: Some implications for forecasting and policy analysis with VAR models

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  • John C. Robertson
  • Ellis W. Tallman

Abstract

Models used for policy analysis should generate reliable unconditional forecasts as well as policy simulations (conditional forecasts) that are based on a structural model of the economy. Vector autoregression (VAR) models have been criticized for having inaccurate forecasts as well as being difficult to interpret in the context of an underlying economic model. In this paper, we examine how the treatment of prior uncertainty about parameter values can affect forecasting accuracy and the interpretation of identified structural VAR models. ; Typically, VAR models are specified with long lag orders and a diffuse prior about the unrestricted coefficients. We find evidence that alternatives that emphasize nonstationary aspects of the data as well as parsimony in parameterization have better out-of-sample forecast performance and smoother and more persistent responses to a given exogenous monetary policy change than do unrestricted VARs.

Suggested Citation

  • John C. Robertson & Ellis W. Tallman, 1999. "Prior parameter uncertainty: Some implications for forecasting and policy analysis with VAR models," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 99-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:99-13
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    Cited by:

    1. Summers, Peter M., 2001. "Forecasting Australia's economic performance during the Asian crisis," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 499-515.
    2. Kaabia, Olfa & Abid, Ilyes & Mkaouar, Farid, 2016. "The dark side of the black gold shock onto Europe: One stock's joy is another stock's sorrow," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 642-654.
    3. Carriero, Andrea & Mumtaz, Haroon & Theophilopoulou, Angeliki, 2015. "Macroeconomic information, structural change, and the prediction of fiscal aggregates," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 325-348.
    4. Kaabia, Olfa & Abid, Ilyes & Guesmi, Khaled, 2013. "Does Bayesian shrinkage help to better reflect what happened during the subprime crisis?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 423-432.
    5. Andrea Brischetto & Graham Voss, 1999. "A Structural Vector Autoregression Model of Monetary Policy in Australia," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp1999-11, Reserve Bank of Australia.

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    Keywords

    Forecasting ; Vector autoregression ; Econometric models;

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