Yong Song and
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Markov switching models are a popular family of models that introduces time-variation in the parameters in the form of their state- or regime-specific values. Importantly, this time-variation is governed by a discrete-valued latent stochastic process with limited memory. More specifically, the current value of the state indicator is determined only by the value of the state indicator from the previous period, thus the Markov property, and the transition matrix. The latter characterizes the properties of the Markov process by determining with what probability each of the states can be visited next period, given the state in the current period. This setup decides on the two main advantages of the Markov switching models. Namely, the estimation of the probability of state occurrences in each of the sample periods by using filtering and smoothing methods and the estimation of the state-specific parameters. These two features open the possibility for improved interpretations of the parameters associated with specific regimes combined with the corresponding regime probabilities, as well as for improved forecasting performance based on persistent regimes and parameters characterizing them.
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