Inferences in panel data with interactive effects using large covariance matrices

Jushan Bai, Yuan Liao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


We consider efficient estimation of panel data models with interactive effects, which relies on a high-dimensional inverse covariance matrix estimator. By using a consistent estimator of the error covariance matrix, we can take into account both cross-sectional correlations and heteroskedasticity. In the presence of cross-sectional correlations, the proposed estimator eliminates the cross-sectional correlation bias, and is more efficient than the existing methods. The rate of convergence is also improved. In addition, we find that when the statistical inference involves estimating a high-dimensional inverse covariance matrix, the minimax convergence rate on large covariance estimations is not sufficient for inferences. To address this issue, a new “doubly weighted convergence” result is developed. The proposed method is applied to the US divorce rate data. We find that our more efficient estimator identifies the significant effects of divorce-law reforms on the divorce rate, and provides tighter confidence intervals than existing methods. This provides a confirmation for the empirical findings of Wolfers (2006) under more general unobserved heterogeneity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-78
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Econometrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics and Econometrics


  • Conditional sparsity
  • Cross-sectional correlation
  • Heteroskedasticity
  • High dimensionality
  • Optimal weight matrix
  • Thresholding
  • Unknown factors

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