Journal article

How Sensitive Are VAR Forecasts to Prior Hyperparameters? An Automated Sensitivity Analysis

Liana Jacobi, Joshua Chan, Dan Zhu

Advances in Econometrics | Emerald Publishing Ltd | Published : 2019


Vector autoregressions (VAR) combined with Minnesota-type priors are widely used for macroeconomic forecasting. The fact that strong but sensible priors can substantially improve forecast performance implies VAR forecasts are sensitive to prior hyperparameters. But the nature of this sensitivity is seldom investigated. We develop a general method based on Automatic Differentiation to systematically compute the sensitivities of forecasts – both points and intervals – with respect to any prior hyperparameters. In a forecasting exercise using US data, we find that forecasts are relatively sensitive to the strength of shrinkage for the VAR coefficients, but they are not much affected by the prio..

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University of Melbourne Researchers

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