Qual VAR Revisited: Good Forecast, Bad Story
Journal of Applied Economics,
Due to the recent financial crisis, the interest in econometric models that allow to incorporate binary variables (such as the occurrence of a crisis) experienced a huge surge. This paper evaluates the performance of the Qual VAR, originally proposed by Dueker (2005). The Qual VAR is a VAR model including a latent variable that governs the behavior of an observable binary variable. While we find that the Qual VAR performs reasonable well in forecasting (outperforming a probit benchmark), there are substantial identification problems even in a simple VAR specification. Typically, identification in economic applications is far more difficult than in our simple benchmark. Therefore, when the economic interpretation of the dynamic behavior of the latent variable and the chain of causality matter, use of the Qual VAR is inadvisable.
Modelling Country Default Risk as a Latent Variable: A Multiple Indicators Multiple Causes Approach
We study the determinants of country default risk by applying a Multiple Indicators Multiple Causes (MIMIC) model. This accounts for the fact that country default risk is an unobservable variable. Whereas existing (regression-based) approaches typically use only one of several possible country default risk indicators as the dependent variable, the MIMIC model enables us to consider several indicators at once. The simultaneous consideration of sovereign yield spreads and Standard and Poor (S&P) ratings may help to improve the identification of the latent country default risk. Our results confirm most of the literature's main findings regarding important determinants of country default risk, refute others and provide new evidence to controversial questions.