Forecasting accuracy and estimation uncertainty using VAR models with short- and long-term economic restrictions: a Monte-Carlo study

Using vector autoregressive (VAR) models and Monte-Carlo simulation methods we investigate the potential gains for forecasting accuracy and estimation uncertainty of two commonly used restrictions arising from economic relationships. The first reduces parameter space by imposing long-term restrictions on the behavior of economic variables as discussed by the literature on cointegration, and the second reduces parameter space by imposing short-term restrictions as discussed by the literature on serial-correlation common features (SCCF). Our simulations cover three important issues on model building, estimation, and forecasting. First, we examine the performance of standard and modified information criteria in choosing lag length for cointegrated VARs with SCCF restrictions. Second, we provide a comparison of forecasting accuracy of fitted VARs when only cointegration restrictions are imposed and when cointegration and SCCF restrictions are jointly imposed. Third, we propose a new estimation algorithm where short- and long-term restrictions interact to estimate the cointegrating and the cofeature spaces respectively. We have three basic results. First, ignoring SCCF restrictions has a high cost in terms of model selection, because standard information criteria chooses too frequently inconsistent models, with too small a lag length. Criteria selecting lag and rank simultaneously have a superior performance in this case. Second, this translates into a superior forecasting performance of the restricted VECM over the VECM, with important improvements in forecasting accuracy - reaching more than 100% in extreme cases. Third, the new algorithm proposed here fares very well in terms of parameter estimation, even when we consider the estimation of long-term parameters, opening up the discussion of joint estimation of short- and long-term parameters in VAR models.