Hierarchical Vector Autoregression, William B. Nicholson, Jacob Bien, David S. Matteson 12-17-14

Hierarchical Vector Autoregression

William B. Nicholson, Jacob Bien, David S. Matteson(Submitted on 17 Dec 2014)

Vector autoregression (VAR) is a fundamental tool for modeling the joint dynamics of multivariate time series. However, as the number of component series is increased, the VAR model quickly becomes overparameterized, making reliable estimation difficult and impeding its adoption as a forecasting tool in high dimensional settings. A number of authors have sought to address this issue by incorporating regularized approaches, such as the lasso, that impose sparse or low-rank structures on the estimated coefficient parameters of the VAR. More traditional approaches attempt to address overparameterization by selecting a low lag order, based on the assumption that dynamic dependence among components is short-range. However, these methods typically assume a single, universal lag order that applies across all components, unnecessarily constraining the dynamic relationship between the components and impeding forecast performance. The lasso-based approaches are more flexible but do not incorporate the notion of lag order selection. We propose a new class of regularized VAR models, called hierarchical vector autoregression (HVAR), that embed the notion of lag selection into a convex regularizer. The key convex modeling tool is a group lasso with nested groups which ensure the sparsity pattern of autoregressive lag coefficients honors the ordered structure inherent to VAR. We provide computationally efficient algorithms for solving HVAR problems that can be parallelized across the components. A simulation study shows the improved performance in forecasting and lag order selection over previous approaches, and a macroeconomic application further highlights forecasting improvements as well as the convenient, interpretable output of a HVAR model.

Subjects: Methodology (stat.ME); Computation (stat.CO); Machine Learning (stat.ML)Cite as: arXiv:1412.5250 [stat.ME]  (or arXiv:1412.5250v1 [stat.ME] for this version)