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The Role of the Prior in Estimating VAR Models with Sign Restrictions
Several recent studies have expressed concern that the Haar prior typically imposed in estimating sign-identified VAR models may be unintentionally informative about the implied prior for the structural impulse responses. This question is indeed important, but we show that the tools that have been used in the literature to illustrate this potential problem are invalid. Specifically, we show that it does not make sense from a Bayesian point of view to characterize the impulse response prior based on the distribution of the impulse responses conditional on the maximum likelihood estimator of ...
Asymmetry, Complementarities, and State Dependence in Federal Reserve Forecasts
Forecasts are a central component of policy making; the Federal Reserve''s forecasts are published in a document called the Greenbook. Previous studies of the Greenbook''s inflation forecasts have found them to be rationalizable but asymmetric if considering particular sub-periods, e.g., before and after the Volcker appointment. In these papers, forecasts are analyzed in isolation, assuming policymakers value them independently. We analyze the Greenbook fore- casts in a framework in which the forecast errors are allowed to interact. We find that allowing the losses to interact makes the ...
Joint Bayesian Inference about Impulse Responses in VAR Models
Structural VAR models are routinely estimated by Bayesian methods. Several recent studies have voiced concerns about the common use of posterior median (or mean) response functions in applied VAR analysis. In this paper, we show that these response functions can be misleading because in empirically relevant settings there need not exist a posterior draw for the impulse response function that matches the posterior median or mean response function, even as the number of posterior draws approaches infinity. As a result, the use of these summary statistics may distort the shape of the impulse ...