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Jel Classification:C18 

Working Paper
In Search of Lost Time Aggregation

In 1960, Working noted that time aggregation of a random walk induces serial correlation in the first difference that is not present in the original series. This important contribution has been overlooked in a recent literature analyzing income and consumption in panel data. I examine Blundell, Pistaferri and Preston (2008) as an important example for which time aggregation has quantitatively large effects. Using new techniques to correct for the problem, I find the estimate for the partial insurance to transitory shocks, originally estimated to be 0.05, increases to 0.24. This larger ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2019-075

Report
On binscatter

Binscatter, or a binned scatter plot, is a very popular tool in applied microeconomics. It provides a flexible, yet parsimonious way of visualizing and summarizing mean, quantile, and other nonparametric regression functions in large data sets. It is also often used for informal evaluation of substantive hypotheses such as linearity or monotonicity of the unknown function. This paper presents a foundational econometric analysis of binscatter, offering an array of theoretical and practical results that aid both understanding current practices (that is, their validity or lack thereof) as well ...
Staff Reports , Paper 881

Working Paper
Easy Bootstrap-Like Estimation of Asymptotic Variances

The bootstrap is a convenient tool for calculating standard errors of the parameter estimates of complicated econometric models. Unfortunately, the bootstrap can be very time-consuming. In a recent paper, Honor and Hu (2017), we propose a ?Poor (Wo)man's Bootstrap? based on one-dimensional estimators. In this paper, we propose a modified, simpler method and illustrate its potential for estimating asymptotic variances.
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2018-11

Working Paper
Aggregation level in stress testing models

We explore the question of optimal aggregation level for stress testing models when the stress test is specified in terms of aggregate macroeconomic variables, but the underlying performance data are available at a loan level. Using standard model performance measures, we ask whether it is better to formulate models at a disaggregated level (?bottom up?) and then aggregate the predictions in order to obtain portfolio loss values or is it better to work directly with aggregated models (?top down?) for portfolio loss forecasts. We study this question for a large portfolio of home equity lines ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2015-14

Working Paper
Robust Bayesian Analysis for Econometrics

We review the literature on robust Bayesian analysis as a tool for global sensitivity analysis and for statistical decision-making under ambiguity. We discuss the methods proposed in the literature, including the different ways of constructing the set of priors that are the key input of the robust Bayesian analysis. We consider both a general set-up for Bayesian statistical decisions and inference and the special case of set-identified structural models. We provide new results that can be used to derive and compute the set of posterior moments for sensitivity analysis and to compute the ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2021-11

Working Paper
Latent Variables Analysis in Structural Models: A New Decomposition of the Kalman Smoother

This paper advocates chaining the decomposition of shocks into contributions from forecast errors to the shock decomposition of the latent vector to better understand model inference about latent variables. Such a double decomposition allows us to gauge the inuence of data on latent variables, like the data decomposition. However, by taking into account the transmission mechanisms of each type of shock, we can highlight the economic structure underlying the relationship between the data and the latent variables. We demonstrate the usefulness of this approach by detailing the role of ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2020-100

Working Paper
The Income-Achievement Gap and Adult Outcome Inequality

This paper discusses various methods for assessing group differences in academic achievement using only the ordinal content of achievement test scores. Researchers and policymakers frequently draw conclusions about achievement differences between various populations using methods that rely on the cardinal comparability of test scores. This paper shows that such methods can lead to erroneous conclusions in an important application: measuring changes over time in the achievement gap between youth from high- and low-income households. Commonly-employed, cardinal methods suggest that this ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2015-41

Discussion Paper
Estimating the output gap in real time

I propose a novel method of estimating the potential level of U.S. GDP in real time. The proposed wage-based measure of economic potential remains virtually unchanged when new data are released. The distance between current and potential output ? the output gap ? satisfies Okun?s law and outperforms many other measures of slack in forecasting inflation. Thus, I provide a robust statistical tool useful for understanding current economic conditions and guiding policymaking.
Staff Papers , Issue Dec

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
Poor (Wo)man’s Bootstrap

The bootstrap is a convenient tool for calculating standard errors of the parameters of complicated econometric models. Unfortunately, the fact that these models are complicated often makes the bootstrap extremely slow or even practically infeasible. This paper proposes an alternative to the bootstrap that relies only on the estimation of one-dimensional parameters. The paper contains no new difficult math. But we believe that it can be useful.
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2015-1

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