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Identification Through Sparsity in Factor Models
Factor models are generally subject to a rotational indeterminacy, meaning that individual factors are only identified up to a rotation. In the presence of local factors, which only affect a subset of the outcomes, we show that the implied sparsity of the loading matrix can be used to solve this rotational indeterminacy. We further prove that a rotation criterion based on the 1-norm of the loading matrix can be used to achieve identification even under approximate sparsity in the loading matrix. This enables us to consistently estimate individual factors, and to interpret them as structural ...
Deconstructing the yield curve
We introduce a novel nonparametric bootstrap for assets with a finite maturity structure such as the nominal yield curve. We analyze the properties of our resampling procedure for inference on bond return predictability. Our method is asymptotically valid and robust to general forms of time and cross-sectional dependence; moreover, it exhibits excellent finite-sample properties. We demonstrate the applicability of our results in two empirical exercises: first, we show that a proxy for equity market tail risk predicts bond returns beyond yield curve factors; second, we provide a bootstrap bias ...
Unspanned macroeconomic factors in the yield curve
In this paper, we extract common factors from a cross-section of U.S. macro-variables and Treasury zero-coupon yields. We find that two macroeconomic factors have an important predictive content for government bond yields and excess returns. These factors are not spanned by the cross-section of yields and are well proxied by economic growth and real interest rates.
A Generalized Factor Model with Local Factors
I extend the theory on factor models by incorporating local factors into the model. Local factors only affect an unknown subset of the observed variables. This implies a continuum of eigenvalues of the covariance matrix, as is commonly observed in applications. I derive which factors are pervasive enough to be economically important and which factors are pervasive enough to be estimable using the common principal component estimator. I then introduce a new class of estimators to determine the number of those relevant factors. Unlike existing estimators, my estimators use not only the ...
How Easy Is It to Forecast Commodity Prices?
Over the last decade, unprecedented spikes and drops in commodity prices have been a recurrent source of concern to both policymakers and the general public. Given all the recent attention, have economists and analysts made any progress in their ability to predict movements in commodity prices? In this post, we find there is no easy answer. We consider different strategies to forecast near-term commodity price inflation, but find that no particular approach is systematically more accurate and robust. Additionally, the results warn against interpreting current forecasts of commodity prices ...
Factor Models with Local Factors—Determining the Number of Relevant Factors
We extend the theory on factor models by incorporating “local” factors into the model. Local factors affect only an unknown subset of the observed variables. This implies a continuum of eigenvalues of the covariance matrix, as is commonly observed in applications. We de-rive which factors are pervasive enough to be economically important and which factors are pervasive enough to be estimable using the common principal component estimator. We then introduce a new class of estimators to determine the number of those relevant factors. Un-like existing estimators, our estimators use not only ...