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Author:Lenza, Michele 

Discussion Paper
Economic Predictions with Big Data: The Illusion of Sparsity

The availability of large data sets, combined with advances in the fields of statistics, machine learning, and econometrics, have generated interest in forecasting models that include many possible predictive variables. Are economic data sufficiently informative to warrant selecting a handful of the most useful predictors from this larger pool of variables? This post documents that they usually are not, based on applications in macroeconomics, microeconomics, and finance.
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20180521

Money, credit, monetary policy, and the business cycle in the euro area: what has changed since the crisis?

This paper studies the relationship between the business cycle and financial intermediation in the euro area. We establish stylized facts and study their stability during the global financial crisis and the European sovereign debt crisis. Long-term interest rates have been exceptionally high and long-term loans and deposits exceptionally low since the Lehman collapse. Instead, short-term interest rates and short-term loans and deposits did not show abnormal dynamics in the course of the financial and sovereign debt crisis.
Staff Reports , Paper 885

Economic predictions with big data: the illusion of sparsity

We compare sparse and dense representations of predictive models in macroeconomics, microeconomics, and finance. To deal with a large number of possible predictors, we specify a prior that allows for both variable selection and shrinkage. The posterior distribution does not typically concentrate on a single sparse or dense model, but on a wide set of models. A clearer pattern of sparsity can only emerge when models of very low dimension are strongly favored a priori.
Staff Reports , Paper 847

Priors for the long run

We propose a class of prior distributions that discipline the long-run predictions of vector autoregressions (VARs). These priors can be naturally elicited using economic theory, which provides guidance on the joint dynamics of macroeconomic time series in the long run. Our priors for the long run are conjugate, and can thus be easily implemented using dummy observations and combined with other popular priors. In VARs with standard macroeconomic variables, a prior based on the long-run predictions of a wide class of theoretical models yields substantial improvements in the forecasting ...
Staff Reports , Paper 832

Working Paper
Nowcasting Business Cycles: a Bayesian Approach to Dynamic Heterogeneous Factor Models

We develop a framework for measuring and monitoring business cycles in real time. Following a long tradition in macroeconometrics, inference is based on a variety of indicators of economic activity, treated as imperfect measures of an underlying index of business cycle conditions. We extend existing approaches by permitting for heterogenous lead-lag patterns of the various indicators along the business cycles. The framework is well suited for high-frequency monitoring of current economic conditions in real time - nowcasting - since inference can be conducted in presence of mixed frequency ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2015-66

Discussion Paper
What’s Up with the Phillips Curve?

U.S. inflation used to rise during economic booms, as businesses charged higher prices to cope with increases in wages and other costs. When the economy cooled and joblessness rose, inflation declined. This pattern changed around 1990. Since then, U.S. inflation has been remarkably stable, even though economic activity and unemployment have continued to fluctuate. For example, during the Great Recession unemployment reached 10 percent, but inflation barely dipped below 1 percent. More recently, even with unemployment as low as 3.5 percent, inflation remained stuck under 2 percent. What ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20200918a


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