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Essays on Structural Breaks and Forecasting in Econometric Models


Instability of parametric models is a common problem in many fields of economics. In econometrics, these changes in the underlying data generating process are referred to as structural breaks. Although there is an extensive literature on estimation and statistical tests of structural breaks, existing methods fail to adequately capture a break. This dissertation consists of three papers on developing econometric methods for structural breaks and forecasting.

The first chapter develops a new method in estimating the location of a structural break in a linear model and provide theoretical results and empirical applications of the estimator. In finite sample the conventional least-squares estimates a break occurred at either ends of the sample with high probability, regardless of the true break point. I suggest an estimator of the break point that resolves this pile up issue and thus, provide a more accurate estimate of the break. The second chapter constructs a statistical test to test existence of a structural break when the direction of the parameter shift is known. In practice it is likely that a researcher is interested in testing for a structural break in a particular direction because the direction is known, such as policy change or historical data. We incorporate this information in constructing three tests that have higher power when direction is correctly specified. The last chapter proposes a multi-period forecasting method that is robust to model misspecification. When we are interested in obtaining long horizon ahead forecasts, the direct forecast method is more favorable than the iterated forecast because it is more robust to misspecification. However, direct forecast estimates tend to have jagged shapes across horizons. I use a mechanism analogous to ridge regression on the direct forecast model to maintain robustness while smoothing out erratic estimates.

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