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A Comparison of Estimation Methods for Dynamic Factor Models of Large Dimensions


  • George Kapetanios

    () (Queen Mary, University of London)

  • Massimiliano Marcellino

    (Bocconi University)


The estimation of dynamic factor models for large sets of variables has attracted considerable attention recently, due to the increased availability of large datasets. In this paper we propose a new methodology for estimating factors from large datasets based on state space models, discuss its theoretical properties and compare its performance with that of two alternative estimation approaches based, respectively, on static and dynamic principal components. The new method appears to perform best in recovering the factors in a set of simulation experiments, with static principal components a close second best. Dynamic principal components appear to yield the best fit, but sometimes there are leakages across the common and idiosyncratic components of the series. A similar pattern emerges in an empirical application with a large dataset of US macroeconomic time series.

Suggested Citation

  • George Kapetanios & Massimiliano Marcellino, 2003. "A Comparison of Estimation Methods for Dynamic Factor Models of Large Dimensions," Working Papers 489, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:qmw:qmwecw:wp489 Note: A revised version is available at the personal homepage of George Kapetanios .

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Forni, Mario & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 1996. "Dynamic Common Factors in Large Cross-Sections," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 27-42.
    2. Forni, Mario & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 1997. "National Policies and Local Economies: Europe and the United States," CEPR Discussion Papers 1632, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Gonzalo Camba-Mendez & George Kapetanios & Richard J. Smith & Martin R. Weale, 2001. "An automatic leading indicator of economic activity: forecasting GDP growth for European countries," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 4(1), pages 1-37.
    4. Forni, Mario & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 1995. "Let's Get Real: A Dynamic Factor Analytical Approach to Disaggregated Business Cycle," CEPR Discussion Papers 1244, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Massimiliano Marcellino & Carlo A. Favero & Francesca Neglia, 2005. "Principal components at work: the empirical analysis of monetary policy with large data sets," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(5), pages 603-620.
    6. Forni, Mario & Hallin, Marc & Lippi, Marco & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 2000. "Reference Cycles: The NBER Methodology Revisited," CEPR Discussion Papers 2400, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    More about this item


    Factor models; Principal components; Subspace algorithms;

    JEL classification:

    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • C51 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Construction and Estimation
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy

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