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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
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:258
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  1. 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.
  2. Sumru Altug, 1986. "Time to build and aggregate fluctuations: some new evidence," Working Papers 277, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  3. Jeffrey Campbell, 1998. "Entry, Exit, Embodied Technology, and Business Cycles," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(2), pages 371-408, April.
  4. Hansen, Lars Peter & Sargent, Thomas J., 1980. "Formulating and estimating dynamic linear rational expectations models," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 7-46, May.
  5. 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.
  6. Forni, Mario & Hallin, Marc & Lippi, Marco & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 1999. "The Generalized Dynamic Factor Model: Identification and Estimation," CEPR Discussion Papers 2338, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Engle, Robert F & Kozicki, Sharon, 1993. "Testing for Common Features," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 11(4), pages 369-80, October.
  8. Watson, Mark W, 1993. "Measures of Fit for Calibrated Models," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 1011-41, December.
  9. 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.
  10. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 1997. "Monetary policy shocks: what have we learned and to what end?," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues WP-97-18, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  11. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1998. "Diffusion Indexes," NBER Working Papers 6702, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. 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.
  13. Mario Forni & Lucrezia Reichlin, 1998. "Let's get real: a factor analytical approach to disaggregated business cycle dynamics," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/10147, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  14. Marco Lippi & Lucrezia Reichlin, 1993. "The dynamic effects of aggregate demand and supply disturbances: comment," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/10159, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  15. Robert G. King & Charles I. Plosser & James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1987. "Stochastic Trends and Economic Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 2229, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. 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.
  17. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
  18. Gamber, Edward N & Joutz, Frederick L, 1993. "The Dynamic Effects of Aggregate Demand and Supply Disturbances: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1387-93, December.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. King, Robert G. & Plosser, Charles I. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1988. "Production, growth and business cycles : I. The basic neoclassical model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 195-232.
  22. Vahid, F & Engle, Robert F, 1993. "Common Trends and Common Cycles," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(4), pages 341-60, Oct.-Dec..
  23. Sargent, Thomas J, 1989. "Two Models of Measurements and the Investment Accelerator," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(2), pages 251-87, April.
  24. Long, John B, Jr & Plosser, Charles I, 1983. "Real Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(1), pages 39-69, February.
  25. 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.
  26. repec:fgv:epgrbe:v:47:n:2:a:1 is not listed on IDEAS
  27. 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.
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