Title: Variational Bayes estimation of time series copulas for multivariate ordinal and mixed data
Authors: Ruben Loaiza-Maya - Monash University (Australia) [presenting]
Michael Smith - University of Melbourne (Australia)
Abstract: A new variational Bayes method for estimating high-dimensional copulas with discrete, or discrete and continuous, margins is proposed. The method is based on a variational approximation to a tractable augmented posterior, and is substantially faster than previous likelihood-based approaches. We use it to estimate drawable vine copulas for univariate and multivariate Markov ordinal and mixed time series. These have dimension $rT$, where $T$ is the number of observations and $r$ is the number of series, and are difficult to estimate using previous methods. The vine pair-copulas are carefully selected to allow for heteroskedasticity, which is a common feature of ordinal time series data. When combined with flexible margins, the resulting time series models also allow for other common features of ordinal data, such as zero inflation, multiple modes and under- or over-dispersion. Using data on homicides in New South Wales, and also U.S bankruptcies, we illustrate both the flexibility of the time series copula models, and the efficacy of the variational Bayes estimator for copulas of up to 792 dimensions and 60 parameters. This far exceeds the size and complexity of copula models for discrete data that can be estimated using previous methods.