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 ...
Piecewise-Linear Approximations and Filtering for DSGE Models with Occasionally Binding Constraints
We develop an algorithm to construct approximate decision rules that are piecewise-linear and continuous for DSGE models with an occasionally binding constraint. The functional form of the decision rules allows us to derive a conditionally optimal particle ﬁlter (COPF) for the evaluation of the likelihood function that exploits the structure of the solution. We document the accuracy of the likelihood approximation and embed it into a particle Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm to conduct Bayesian estimation. Compared with a standard bootstrap particle ﬁlter, the COPF signiﬁcantly ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
Term Structure Modeling with Supply Factors and the Federal Reserve's Large Scale Asset Purchase Programs
This paper estimates an arbitrage-free term structure model with both observable yield factors and Treasury and Agency MBS supply factors, and uses it to evaluate the term premium effects of the Federal Reserve's large-scale asset purchase programs. Our estimates show that the first and the second large-scale asset purchase programs and the maturity extension program jointly reduced the 10-year Treasury yield by about 100 basis points.
Monetary Policy, Real Activity, and Credit Spreads : Evidence from Bayesian Proxy SVARs
This paper studies the interaction between monetary policy, financial markets, and the real economy. We develop a Bayesian framework to estimate proxy structural vector autoregressions (SVARs) in which monetary policy shocks are identified by exploiting the information contained in high frequency data. For the Great Moderation period, we find that monetary policy shocks are key drivers of fluctuations in industrial output and corporate credit spreads, explaining about 20 percent of the volatility of these variables. Central to this result is a systematic component of monetary policy ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...