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MCMC Estimation of Classical and Dynamic Switching and Mixture Models

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In the present paper we discuss Bayesian estimation of a very general model class where the distribution of the observations is assumed to depend on a latent mixture or switching variable taking values in a discrete state space. This model class covers e.g. finite mixture modelling, Markov switching autoregressive modelling and dynamic linear models with switching. Joint Bayesian estimation of all latent variables, model parameters and parameters determining the probability law of the switching variable is carried out by a new Markov Chain Monte Carlo method called permutation sampling. Estimation of switching and mixture models is known to be faced with identifiability problems as switching and mixture are identifiable only up to permutations of the indices of the states. For a Bayesian analysis the posterior has to be constrained in such a way that identifiablity constraints are fulfilled. The permutation sampler is designed to sample efficiently from the constrained posterior, by first sampling from the unconstrained posterior - which often can be done in a convenient multimove manner - and then by applying a suitable permutation, if the identifiability constraint is violated. We present simple conditions on the prior which ensure that this method is a valid Markov Chain Monte Carlo method (that is invariance, irreducibility and aperiodicity hold). Three case studies are presented, including finite mixture modelling of fetal lamb data, Markov switching Autoregressive modelling of the U.S. quarterly real GDP data, and modelling the U .S./U.K. real exchange rate by a dynamic linear model with Markov switching heteroscedasticity. (author's abstract) ; Series: Forschungsberichte / Institut für Statistik

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Sylvia Frühwirth-Schnatter

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