This paper discusses the challenges faced by the empirical macroeconomist and methods for surmounting them. These challenges arise due to the fact that macroeconometric models potentially include a large number of variables and allow for time variation in parameters. These considerations lead to models which have a large number of parameters to estimate relative to the number of observations. A wide range of approaches are surveyed which aim to overcome the resulting problems. We stress the related themes of prior shrinkage, model averaging and model selection. Subsequently, we consider a particular modelling approach in detail. This involves the use of dynamic model selection methods with large TVP-VARs. A forecasting exercise involving a large US macroeconomic data set illustrates the practicality and empirical success of our approach.
In this paper a semi-structural econometric model is implemented in order to estimate the natural rates of interest in two large economies of the Euro Area: Germany an Italy. The estimates suggest that after the financial crisis of 2007–2008 a decrease of the growth rate of potential output and the corresponding natural rate of interest was greater in Italy than in Germany which could have had important implications for the effectiveness of a common monetary policy. Unlike in other studies, it is found that the monetary policy stance was less expansionary in Italy as compared to Germany for the whole after-crisis period.