“Exact” and Approximate Methods for Bayesian Inference: Stochastic Volatility Case Study

Abstract (link to article)

We conduct a case study in which we empirically illustrate the performance of different classes of Bayesian inference methods to estimate stochastic volatility models. In particular, we consider how different particle filtering methods affect the variance of the estimated likelihood. We review and compare particle Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC), RMHMC, fixed-form variational Bayes, and integrated nested Laplace approximation to estimate the posterior distribution of the parameters. Additionally, we conduct the review from the point of view of whether these methods are (1) easily adaptable to different model specifications; (2) adaptable to higher dimensions of the model in a straightforward way; (3) feasible in the multivariate case. We show that when using the stochastic volatility model for methods comparison, various data-generating processes have to be considered to make a fair assessment of the methods. Finally, we present a challenging specification of the multivariate stochastic volatility model, which is rarely used to illustrate the methods but constitutes an important practical application.