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VARs, Common Factors and the Empirical Validation of Equilibrium Business Cycle Models

  • Domenica Giannone
  • Lucrezia Reichlin
  • Luca Sala

Equilibrium business cycle models have typically less shocks than variables. As pointed out by Altug, 1989 and Sargent, 1989, if variables are measured with error, this characteristic implies that the model solution for measured variables has a factor structure. This paper compares estimation performance for the impulse response coefficients based on a VAR approximation to this class of models and an estimation method that explicitly takes into account the restrictions implied by the factor structure. Bias and mean squared error for both factor based and VAR based estimates of impulse response functions are quanti?ed using, as data generating process, a calibrated standard equilibrium business cycle model. We show that, at short horizons, VAR estimates of impulse response functions are less accurate than factor estimates while the two methods perform similarly at medium and long run horizons.

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Paper provided by IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University in its series Working Papers with number 258.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:258
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  1. Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas J. Sargent, 1979. "Formulating and estimating dynamic linear rational expectations models," Working Papers 127, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Lawrence J. Christiano, 1998. "Solving Dynamic Equilibrium Models by a Method of Undetermined Coefficients," NBER Technical Working Papers 0225, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  5. Sumru Altug, 1986. "Time to build and aggregate fluctuations: some new evidence," Working Papers 277, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  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. Vahid, Farshid & Issler, Joao Victor, 2002. "The importance of common cyclical features in VAR analysis: a Monte-Carlo study," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 109(2), pages 341-363, August.
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  9. Issler, Joao Victor & Vahid, Farshid, 2001. "Common cycles and the importance of transitory shocks to macroeconomic aggregates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 449-475, June.
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  12. Robert F. Engle & Sharon Kozicki, 1990. "Testing For Common Features," NBER Technical Working Papers 0091, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Stock, James H & Watson, Mark W, 2002. "Macroeconomic Forecasting Using Diffusion Indexes," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(2), pages 147-62, April.
  14. Filippo Altissimo & Antonio Bassanetti & Riccardo Cristadoro & Mario Forni & Marco Lippi & Lucrezia Reichlin & Giovanni Veronese, 2001. "A real time coincident indicator of the euro area business cycle," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 436, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  15. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 1998. "Monetary Policy Shocks: What Have We Learned and to What End?," NBER Working Papers 6400, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  22. Jeffrey R. Campbell, 1997. "Entry, Exit, Embodied Technology, and Business Cycles," NBER Working Papers 5955, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  24. Giannone, Domenico & Reichlin, Lucrezia & Sala, Luca, 2002. "Tracking Greenspan: Systematic and Unsystematic Monetary Policy Revisited," CEPR Discussion Papers 3550, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  25. Thomas J. Sargent & Christopher A. Sims, 1977. "Business cycle modeling without pretending to have too much a priori economic theory," Working Papers 55, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  26. Engle, Robert F & Kozicki, Sharon, 1993. "Testing for Common Features: Reply," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 11(4), pages 393-95, October.
  27. Watson, Mark W. & Engle, Robert F., 1983. "Alternative algorithms for the estimation of dynamic factor, mimic and varying coefficient regression models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 385-400, December.
  28. Jeffrey R. Campbell, 1997. "Computational Appendix to Entry, Exit, Embodied Technology, and Business Cycles," Technical Appendices campbell98, Review of Economic Dynamics.
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