Bridging factor and sparse models

02/22/2021 ∙ by Jianqing Fan, et al. ∙ 0

Factor and sparse models are two widely used methods to impose a low-dimensional structure in high-dimension. They are seemingly mutually exclusive. In this paper, we propose a simple lifting method that combines the merits of these two models in a supervised learning methodology that allows to efficiently explore all the information in high-dimensional datasets. The method is based on a flexible model for panel data, called factor-augmented regression model with both observable, latent common factors, as well as idiosyncratic components as high-dimensional covariate variables. This model not only includes both factor regression and sparse regression as specific models but also significantly weakens the cross-sectional dependence and hence facilitates model selection and interpretability. The methodology consists of three steps. At each step, the remaining cross-section dependence can be inferred by a novel test for covariance structure in high-dimensions. We developed asymptotic theory for the factor-augmented sparse regression model and demonstrated the validity of the multiplier bootstrap for testing high-dimensional covariance structure. This is further extended to testing high-dimensional partial covariance structures. The theory and methods are further supported by an extensive simulation study and applications to the construction of a partial covariance network of the financial returns and a prediction exercise for a large panel of macroeconomic time series from FRED-MD database.

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