A New Tool for Robust Estimation and Identification of Unusual Data Points
Most consistent estimators are what Müller (2007) terms “highly fragile”: prone to total breakdown in the presence of a handful of unusual data points. This compromises inference. Robust estimation is a (seldom-used) solution, but commonly used methods have drawbacks. In this paper, building on methods that are relatively unknown in economics, we provide a new tool for robust estimates of mean and covariance, useful both for robust estimation and for detection of unusual data points. It is relatively fast and useful for large data sets. Our performance testing indicates that our baseline ...
Forward Guidance: Communication, Commitment, or Both?
A policy of forward guidance has been suggested either as a form of commitment ("Odyssean") or as a way of conveying information to the public ("Delphic"). I analyze the strategic interaction between households and the central bank as a game in which the central bank can send messages to the public independently of its actions. In the absence of private information, the set of equilibrium payoffs is independent of the announcements of the central bank: forward guidance as a pure commitment mechanism is a redundant policy instrument. When private information is present, central bank ...
Measuring Labor-Force Participation and the Incidence and Duration of Unemployment
The underlying data from which the U.S. unemployment rate, labor-force participation rate, and duration of unemployment are calculated contain numerous internal contradictions. This paper catalogs these inconsistencies and proposes a reconciliation. We find that the usual statistics understate the unemployment rate and the labor-force participation rate by about two percentage points on average and that the bias in the latter has increased since the Great Recession. The BLS estimate of the average duration of unemployment overstates by 50% the true duration of uninterrupted spells of ...
Does Realized Volatility Help Bond Yield Density Prediction?
We suggest using "realized volatility" as a volatility proxy to aid in model-based multivariate bond yield density forecasting. To do so, we develop a general estimation approach to incorporate volatility proxy information into dynamic factor models with stochastic volatility. The resulting model parameter estimates are highly efficient, which one hopes would translate into superior predictive performance. We explore this conjecture in the context of density prediction of U.S. bond yields by incorporating realized volatility into a dynamic Nelson-Siegel (DNS) model with stochastic ...
Bayesian Estimation of Epidemiological Models: Methods, Causality, and Policy Trade-Oﬀs
We present a general framework for Bayesian estimation and causality assessment in epidemiological models. The key to our approach is the use of sequential Monte Carlo methods to evaluate the likelihood of a generic epidemiological model. Once we have the likelihood, we specify priors and rely on a Markov chain Monte Carlo to sample from the posterior distribution. We show how to use the posterior simulation outputs as inputs for exercises in causality assessment. We apply our approach to Belgian data for the COVID-19 epidemic during 2020. Our estimated time-varying-parameters SIRD model ...
Macroeconomic Dynamics Near the ZLB : A Tale of Two Countries
We compute a sunspot equilibrium in an estimated small-scale New Keynesian model with a zero lower bound (ZLB) constraint on nominal interest rates and a full set of stochastic fundamental shocks. In this equilibrium a sunspot shock can move the economy from a regime in which inflation is close to the central bank's target to a regime in which the central bank misses its target, inflation rates are negative, and interest rates are close to zero with high probability. A nonlinear filter is used to examine whether the U.S. in the aftermath of the Great Recession and Japan in the late 1990s ...
The post-crisis slump in the Euro Area and the US: evidence from an estimated three-region DSGE model
The global financial crisis (2008-09) led to a sharp contraction in both Euro Area (EA) and US real activity, and was followed by a long-lasting slump. However, the post-crisis adjustment in the EA and the US shows striking differences?in particular, the EA slump has been markedly more protracted. We estimate a three-region (EA, US and Rest of World) New Keynesian DSGE model (using quarterly data for 1999-2014) to quantify the drivers of the divergent EA and US adjustment paths. Our results suggest that financial shocks were key drivers of the 2008-09 Great Recession, for both the EA and the ...
Recession forecasting using Bayesian classification
The authors demonstrated the use of a Nave Bayes model as a recession forecasting tool. The approach has a close connection to Markov-switching models and logistic regression but also important differences. In contrast to Markov-switching models, Nave Bayes treats National Bureau of Economic Research business cycle turning points as data rather than hidden states to be inferred by the model. Although Nave Bayes and logistic regression are asymptotically equivalent under certain distributional assumptions, the assumptions do not hold for business cycle data.
Forecasting with Julia
A little more than a year ago, in this post, we announced DSGE.jl?a package for working with dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) models using Julia, the open-source computing language. At that time, DSGE.jl contained only the code required to specify, solve, and estimate such models using Bayesian methods. Now, we have extended the package to provide the additional code needed to produce economic forecasts, counterfactual simulations, and inference on unobservable variables, such as the natural rate of interest or the output gap. The old, pre-Julia version of the code, which was ...
A new monthly indicator of global real economic activity
In modelling macroeconomic time series, often a monthly indicator of global real economic activity is used. We propose a new indicator, named World steel production, and compare it to other existing indicators, precisely the Kilian?s index of global real economic activity and the index of OECD World industrial production. We develop an econometric approach based on desirable econometric properties in relation to the quarterly measure of World or global gross domestic product to evaluate and to choose across different alternatives. The method is designed to evaluate short-term, long-term and ...