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Identification of Economic Shocks by Inequality Constraints in Bayesian Structural Vector Autoregression

Markku Lanne and Jani Luoto

Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 2020, vol. 82, issue 2, 425-452

Abstract: Theories often make predictions about the signs of the effects of economic shocks on observable variables, thus implying inequality constraints on the parameters of a structural vector autoregression (SVAR). We introduce a new Bayesian procedure to evaluate the probabilities of such constraints, and, hence, to validate the theoretically implied economic shocks. We first estimate a SVAR, where the shocks are identified by statistical properties of the data, and subsequently label these statistically identified shocks by the Bayes factors calculated from their probabilities of satisfying given inequality constraints. In contrast to the related sign restriction approach that also makes use of theoretically implied inequality constraints, no restrictions are imposed. Hence, it is possible that only a subset or none of the theoretically implied shocks can be labelled. In the latter case, we conclude that the data do not lend support to the theory implying the signs of the effects in question. We illustrate the method by empirical applications to the crude oil market, and U.S. monetary policy.

Date: 2020
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Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics is currently edited by Christopher Adam, Anindya Banerjee, Christopher Bowdler, David Hendry, Adriaan Kalwij, John Knight and Jonathan Temple

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