NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Asymptotically Median Unbiased Estimation of Coefficient Variance in a Time Varying Parameter Model

James H. Stock, Mark W. Watson

NBER Technical Working Paper No. 201
Issued in August 1996
NBER Program(s):   ME

This paper considers the estimation of the variance of coefficients in time varying parameter models with stationary regressors. The maximum likelihood estimator has large point mass at zero. We therefore develop asymptotically median unbiased estimators and confidence intervals by inverting median functions of regression-based parameter stability test statistics, computed under the constant-parameter null. These estimators have good asymptotic relative efficiencies for small to moderate amounts of parameter variability. We apply these results to an unobserved components model of trend growth in postwar U.S. GDP: the MLE implies that there has been no change in the trend rate, while the upper range of the median-unbiased point estimates imply that the annual trend growth rate has fallen by 0.7 percentage points over the postwar period.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/t0201

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