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Author:Herbst, Edward 

Discussion Paper
Online Estimation of DSGE Models

The estimation of dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) models is a computationally demanding task. As these models change to address new challenges (such as household and firm heterogeneity, the lower bound on nominal interest rates, and occasionally binding financial constraints), they become even more complex and difficult to estimate?so much so that current estimation procedures are no longer up to the task. This post discusses a new technique for estimating these models which belongs to the class of sequential Monte Carlo (SMC) algorithms, an approach we employ to estimate the ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20190821

Report
Online Estimation of DSGE Models

This paper illustrates the usefulness of sequential Monte Carlo (SMC) methods in approximating DSGE model posterior distributions. We show how the tempering schedule can be chosen adaptively, explore the benefits of an SMC variant we call generalized tempering for ?online? estimation, and provide examples of multimodal posteriors that are well captured by SMC methods. We then use the online estimation of the DSGE model to compute pseudo-out-of-sample density forecasts of DSGE models with and without financial frictions and document the benefits of conditioning DSGE model forecasts on nowcasts ...
Staff Reports , Paper 893

Working Paper
Forward Guidance with Bayesian Learning and Estimation

Considerable attention has been devoted to evaluating the macroeconomic effectiveness of the Federal Reserve's communications about future policy rates (forward guidance) in light of the U.S. economy's long spell at the zero lower bound (ZLB). In this paper, we study whether forward guidance represented a shift in the systematic description of monetary policy by estimating a New Keynesian model using Bayesian techniques. In doing so, we take into account the uncertainty that agents have about policy regimes using an incomplete information setup in which they update their beliefs using Bayes ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2018-072

Working Paper
Estimating (Markov-Switching) VAR Models without Gibbs Sampling: A Sequential Monte Carlo Approach

Vector autoregressions with Markov-switching parameters (MS-VARs) fit the data better than do their constant-parameter predecessors. However, Bayesian inference for MS-VARs with existing algorithms remains challenging. For our first contribution, we show that Sequential Monte Carlo (SMC) estimators accurately estimate Bayesian MS-VAR posteriors. Relative to multi-step, model-specific MCMC routines, SMC has the advantages of generality, parallelizability, and freedom from reliance on particular analytical relationships between prior and likelihood. For our second contribution, we use SMC's ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2015-116

Working Paper
Short-term Planning, Monetary Policy, and Macroeconomic Persistence

This paper uses aggregate data to estimate and evaluate a behavioral New Keynesian (NK) model in which households and firms plan over a finite horizon. The finite-horizon (FH) model outperforms rational expectations versions of the NK model commonly used in empirical applications as well as other behavioral NK models. The better fit of the FH model reflects that it can induce slow-moving trends in key endogenous variables which deliver substantial persistence in output and inflation dynamics. In the FH model, households and firms are forward-looking in thinking about events over their ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2020-003

Working Paper
Bias in Local Projections

Local projections (LPs) are a popular tool in applied macroeconomic research. We survey the related literature and find that LPs are often used with very small samples in the time dimension. With small sample sizes, given the high degree of persistence in most macroeconomic data, impulse responses estimated by LPs can be severely biased. This is true even if the right-hand-side variable in the LP is iid, or if the data set includes a large cross-section (i.e., panel data). We derive a simple expression to elucidate the source of the bias. Our expression highlights the interdependence between ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2020-010

Working Paper
Online Estimation of DSGE Models

This paper illustrates the usefulness of sequential Monte Carlo (SMC) methods in approximating DSGE model posterior distributions. We show how the tempering schedule can be chosen adaptively, document the accuracy and runtime benefits o fgeneralized data tempering for “online” estimation (that is, re-estimating a model asnew data become available), and provide examples of multimodal posteriors that are well captured by SMC methods. We then use the online estimation of the DSGE model to compute pseudo-out-of-sample density forecasts and study the sensitivity ofthe predictive performance to ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2020-023

Working Paper
Using the \\"Chandrasekhar Recursions\\" for likelihood evaluation of DSGE models

In likelihood-based estimation of linearized Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium (DSGE) models, the evaluation of the Kalman Filter dominates the running time of the entire algorithm. In this paper, we revisit a set of simple recursions known as the "Chandrasekhar Recursions" developed by Morf (1974) and Morf, Sidhu, and Kalaith (1974) for evaluating the likelihood of a Linear Gaussian State Space System. We show that DSGE models are ideally suited for the use of these recursions, which work best when the number of states is much greater than the number of observables. In several ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2012-35

Working Paper
Sequential Monte Carlo sampling for DSGE models

We develop a sequential Monte Carlo (SMC) algorithm for estimating Bayesian dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) models, wherein a particle approximation to the posterior is built iteratively through tempering the likelihood. Using three examples--an artificial state-space model, the Smets and Wouters (2007) model, and Schmitt-Grohe and Uribe's (2012) news shock model--we show that the SMC algorithm is better suited for multimodal and irregular posterior distributions than the widely-used random-walk Metropolis-Hastings algorithm. We find that a more diffuse prior for the Smets and ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2013-43

Working Paper
The Empirical Implications of the Interest-Rate Lower Bound

Using Bayesian methods, we estimate a nonlinear DSGE model in which the interest-rate lower bound is occasionally binding. We quantify the size and nature of disturbances that pushed the U.S. economy to the lower bound in late 2008 as well as the contribution of the lower bound constraint to the resulting economic slump. We find that the interest-rate lower bound was a significant constraint on monetary policy that exacerbated the recession and inhibited the recovery, as our mean estimates imply that the zero lower bound (ZLB) accounted for about 30 percent of the sharp contraction in U.S. ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2012-83

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