Forecasting VARMA processes using VAR models and subspace-based state space models
VAR modelling is a frequent technique in econometrics for linear processes. VAR modelling offers some desirable features such as relatively simple procedures for model specification (order selection) and the possibility of obtaining quick non-iterative maximum likelihood estimates of the system parameters. However, if the process under study follows a finite-order VARMA structure, it cannot be equivalently represented by any finite-order VAR model. On the other hand, a finite-order state space model can represent a finite-order VARMA process exactly, and, for state-space modelling, subspace algorithms allow for quick and non-iterative estimates of the system parameters, as well as for simple specification procedures. Given the previous facts, we check in this paper whether subspace-based state space models provide better forecasts than VAR models when working with VARMA data generating processes. In a simulation study we generate samples from different VARMA data generating processes, obtain VAR-based and state-space-based models for each generating process and compare the predictive power of the obtained models. Different specification and estimation algorithms are considered; in particular, within the subspace family, the CCA (Canonical Correlation Analysis) algorithm is the selected option to obtain state-space models. Our results indicate that when the MA parameter of an ARMA process is close to 1, the CCA state space models are likely to provide better forecasts than the AR models. We also conduct a practical comparison (for two cointegrated economic time series) of the predictive power of Johansen restricted-VAR (VEC) models with the predictive power of state space models obtained by the CCA subspace algorithm, including a density forecasting analysis.
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