Error bands for impulse responses

Christopher A. Sims, Tao Zha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

442 Scopus citations


We show how correctly to extend known methods for generating error bands in reduced form VAR's to overidentified models. We argue that the conventional pointwise bands common in the literature should be supplemented with measures of shape uncertainty, and we show how to generate such measures. We focus on bands that characterize the shape of the likelihood. Such bands are not classical confidence regions. We explain that classical confidence regions mix information about parameter location with information about model fit, and hence can be misleading as summaries of the implications of the data for the location of parameters. Because classical confidence regions also present conceptual and computational problems in multivariate time series models, we suggest that likelihood-based bands, rather than approximate confidence bands based on asymptotic theory, be standard in reporting results for this type of model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1113-1155
Number of pages43
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics and Econometrics


  • Bayesian methods
  • Confidence region
  • Impulse responses
  • Vector autoregression


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