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A Class of Adaptive Importance Sampling Weighted EM Algorithms for Efficient and Robust Posterior and Predictive Simulation


  • Lennart Hoogerheide

    (VU University Amsterdam)

  • Anne Opschoor

    (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

  • Herman K. van Dijk

    (Erasmus University Rotterdam, and VU University Amsterdam)


This discussion paper was published in the Journal of Econometrics (2012). Vol. 171(2), 101-120. A class of adaptive sampling methods is introduced for efficient posterior and predictive simulation. The proposed methods are robust in the sense that they can handle target distributions that exhibit non-elliptical shapes such as multimodality and skewness. The basic method makes use of sequences of importance weighted Expectation Maximization steps in order to efficiently construct a mixture of Student- t densities that approximates accurately the target distribution - typically a posterior distribution, of which we only require a kernel - in the sense that the Kullback-Leibler divergence between target and mixture is minimized. We label this approach Mixture of t by Importance Sampling and Expectation Maximization (MitISEM). The constructed mixture is used as a candidate density for quick and reliable application of either Importance Sampling (IS) or the Metropolis-Hastings (MH) method. We also introduce three extensions of the basic MitISEM approach. First, we propose a method for applying MitISEM in a sequential manner. Second, we introduce a permutation-augmented MitISEM approach. Third, we propose a partial MitISEM approach, which aims at approximating the joint distribution by estimating a product of marginal and conditional distributions. This division can substantially reduce the dimension of the approximation problem, which facilitates the application of adaptive importance sampling for posterior simulation in more complex models with larger numbers of parameters. Our results indicate that the proposed methods can substantially reduce the computational burden in econometric models like DCC or mixture GARCH models and a mixture instrumental variables model.

Suggested Citation

  • Lennart Hoogerheide & Anne Opschoor & Herman K. van Dijk, 2012. "A Class of Adaptive Importance Sampling Weighted EM Algorithms for Efficient and Robust Posterior and Predictive Simulation," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-026/4, Tinbergen Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:tin:wpaper:20120026

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    1. Hoogerheide, Lennart & van Dijk, Herman K., 2010. "Bayesian forecasting of Value at Risk and Expected Shortfall using adaptive importance sampling," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 231-247, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Natalia Khorunzhina & Jean-François Richard, 2019. "Finite Gaussian Mixture Approximations to Analytically Intractable Density Kernels," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 53(3), pages 991-1017, March.
    2. Baştürk, N. & Borowska, A. & Grassi, S. & Hoogerheide, L. & van Dijk, H.K., 2019. "Forecast density combinations of dynamic models and data driven portfolio strategies," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 210(1), pages 170-186.
    3. Ardia, David & Hoogerheide, Lennart F., 2014. "GARCH models for daily stock returns: Impact of estimation frequency on Value-at-Risk and Expected Shortfall forecasts," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 123(2), pages 187-190.
    4. David Ardia & Lukasz T. Gatarek & Lennart Hoogerheide & Herman K. Van Dijk, 2016. "Return and Risk of Pairs Trading Using a Simulation-Based Bayesian Procedure for Predicting Stable Ratios of Stock Prices," Econometrics, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(1), pages 1-19, March.
    5. Nalan Basturk & Cem Cakmakli & S. Pinar Ceyhan & Herman K. van Dijk, 2014. "On the Rise of Bayesian Econometrics after Cowles Foundation Monographs 10, 14," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 14-085/III, Tinbergen Institute, revised 04 Sep 2014.
    6. Borowska, Agnieszka & Hoogerheide, Lennart & Koopman, Siem Jan & van Dijk, Herman K., 2020. "Partially censored posterior for robust and efficient risk evaluation," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 217(2), pages 335-355.
    7. István Barra & Lennart Hoogerheide & Siem Jan Koopman & André Lucas, 2017. "Joint Bayesian Analysis of Parameters and States in Nonlinear non‐Gaussian State Space Models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 32(5), pages 1003-1026, August.
    8. Nalan Basturk & Cem Cakmakli & S. Pinar Ceyhan & Herman K. van Dijk, 2013. "Historical Developments in Bayesian Econometrics after Cowles Foundation Monographs 10, 14," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-191/III, Tinbergen Institute.
    9. Lukasz Gatarek & Lennart Hoogerheide & Koen Hooning & Herman K. van Dijk, 2013. "Censored Posterior and Predictive Likelihood in Left-Tail Prediction for Accurate Value at Risk Estimation," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-060/III, Tinbergen Institute, revised 06 Mar 2014.
    10. repec:gam:jecnmx:v:4:y:2016:i:1:p:11:d:65219 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Sergei Seleznev, 2016. "Solving DSGE models with stochastic trends," Bank of Russia Working Paper Series wps15, Bank of Russia.
    12. repec:gam:jecnmx:v:4:y:2016:i:1:p:14:d:65426 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Waggoner, Daniel F. & Wu, Hongwei & Zha, Tao, 2016. "Striated Metropolis–Hastings sampler for high-dimensional models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 192(2), pages 406-420.
    14. Scharth, Marcel & Kohn, Robert, 2016. "Particle efficient importance sampling," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 190(1), pages 133-147.
    15. Nalan Baştürk & Stefano Grassi & Lennart Hoogerheide & Herman K. Van Dijk, 2016. "Parallelization Experience with Four Canonical Econometric Models Using ParMitISEM," Econometrics, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(1), pages 1-20, March.
    16. Markku Lanne & Jani Luoto, 2015. "Estimation of DSGE Models under Diffuse Priors and Data-Driven Identification Constraints," CREATES Research Papers 2015-37, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    17. Markku Lanne & Jani Luoto, 2018. "Data†Driven Identification Constraints for DSGE Models," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 80(2), pages 236-258, April.
    18. Nomen Nescio, 2013. "Nomen Nescio," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-095 not issued, Tinbergen Institute.
    19. Dellaportas, Petros & Tsionas, Mike G., 2019. "Importance sampling from posterior distributions using copula-like approximations," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 210(1), pages 45-57.
    20. Gerlach, Richard & Abeywardana, Sachin, 2016. "Variational Bayes for assessment of dynamic quantile forecasts," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 1385-1402.
    21. Geweke, John & Durham, Garland, 2019. "Sequentially adaptive Bayesian learning algorithms for inference and optimization," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 210(1), pages 4-25.
    22. Nalan Basturk & Stefano Grassi & Lennart Hoogerheide & Herman K. van Dijk, 2016. "Time-varying Combinations of Bayesian Dynamic Models and Equity Momentum Strategies," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 16-099/III, Tinbergen Institute.

    More about this item


    mixture of Student-t distributions; importance sampling; Kullback-Leibler divergence; Expectation Maximization; Metropolis-Hastings algorithm; predictive likelihood; DCC GARCH; mixture GARCH; instrumental variables;

    JEL classification:

    • C11 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Bayesian Analysis: General
    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes
    • C26 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Instrumental Variables (IV) Estimation

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