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Another look into the factor model black box: factor interpretation and structural (in)stability

Thomas Despois and Catherine Doz ()
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Thomas Despois: PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics
Catherine Doz: PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics

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Abstract: This paper considers two families of methods allowing to get interpretable factors without imposing their interpretation a priori: factor rotations and sparse PCA. Monte Carlo simulations show their performance in recovering the correct factor structure. In an empirical application with a large U.S. macroeconomic dataset, they recover the same factor structure, offering a clear economic interpretation. This factor representation seems more natural and informative than competitors, offering new lens to disentangle the driving forces within a factor model. In particular, the structural instability appears to be more limited, and of different nature than what was previously found.

Keywords: dynamic factor models; factor rotations; sparse PCA; structural break (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-02
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ecm and nep-ets
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