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Improving Bayesian VAR density forecasts through autoregressive Wishart Stochastic Volatility

Karapanagiotidis, Paul (2012): Improving Bayesian VAR density forecasts through autoregressive Wishart Stochastic Volatility.

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Dramatic changes in macroeconomic time series volatility pose a challenge to contemporary vector autoregressive (VAR) forecasting models. Traditionally, the conditional volatility of such models had been assumed constant over time or allowed for breaks across long time periods. More recent work, however, has improved forecasts by allowing the conditional volatility to be completely time variant by specifying the VAR innovation variance as a distinct discrete time process. For example, Clark (2011) specifies the volatility process as an independent log random walk for each time series in the VAR. Unfortunately, there is no empirical reason to believe that the VAR innovation volatility process of macroeconomic growth series follow log random walks, nor that the volatility of each series is independent of the others. This suggests that a more robust specification on the volatility process—one that both accounts for co-persistence in conditional volatility across time series and exhibits mean reverting behaviour—should improve density forecasts, especially over the long run forecasting horizon. In this respect, I employ a latent Inverse-Wishart autoregressive stochastic volatility specification on the conditional variance equation of a Bayesian VAR, with U.S. macroeconomic time series data, in evaluating Bayesian forecast efficiency against a competing log random walk specification by Clark (2011).

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