Statistical Inferences Using Large Estimated Covariances for Panel Data and Factor Models
37 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2013
Date Written: November 12, 2013
While most of the convergence results in the literature on high dimensional covariance matrix are concerned about the accuracy of estimating the covariance matrix (and precision matrix), relatively less is known about the effect of estimating large covariances on statistical inferences. We study two important models: factor analysis and panel data model with interactive effects, and focus on the statistical inference and estimation efficiency of structural parameters based on large covariance estimators. For efficient estimation, both models call for a weighted principle components (WPC), which relies on a high dimensional weight matrix. This paper derives an efficient and feasible WPC using the covariance matrix estimator of Fan et al. (2013). However, we demonstrate that existing results on large covariance estimation based on absolute convergence are not suitable for statistical inferences of the structural parameters. What is needed is some weighted consistency and the associated rate of convergence, which are obtained in this paper. Finally, the proposed method is applied to the US divorce rate data. We find that the efficient WPC identifies the significant effects of divorce-law reforms on the divorce rate, and it provides more accurate estimation and tighter confidence intervals than existing methods.
Keywords: High dimensionality, unknown factors, conditional sparsity, thresholding, cross-sectional correlation, heteroskedasticity, optimal weight matrix, interactive effect
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