Estimating the Probability of Acting as a Trustee (with D.Stadelmann)
We discuss a binomial mixture model for estimating the probability of a political representative acting as a delegate or a trustee. The model also returns the probability of congruence of a representative with the national median voter. The estimated probability of congruence strongly correlates with the observed frequency of congruence, which was obtained by matching parliamentary roll-call votes with the will of the median voter revealed in Swiss national referendums on identical legislative proposals. Since our method uses the roll-call votes of political representatives as sole input, it can be used to infer congruence levels of politicians, even if the will of the median voter is unobserved.
Exploring the Dynamics of Business Survey Data Using Markov Models (with W.Hölzl and Y.Kaniovski)
Business tendency surveys are widely used for monitoring economic activity. They provide timely feedback on the current business conditions and outlook. We identify the unobserved macroeconomic factors behind the distribution of quarterly responses by Austrian firms on the questions concerning the current business climate and production. The aggregate models use a regime-switching matrix to identify two macroeconomic regimes: upturn and downturn. The micro-founded models envision dependent responses by the firms, so that a favorable or an adverse unobserved common macroeconomic factor increases the frequency of optimistic or pessimistic responses, with the corresponding conditional transition probabilities defined using a coupling scheme. Extensions address the sector dimension and introduce dynamic common tendencies modeled with a hidden Markov chain.