Bayesian estimation of semiparametric nonlinear dynamic factor analysis models using the Dirichlet process prior


Correspondence should be addressed to Dr Sy-Miin Chow, University of North Carolina, CB#3270 Davie Hall, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3270, USA (e-mail:


Parameters in time series and other dynamic models often show complex range restrictions and their distributions may deviate substantially from multivariate normal or other standard parametric distributions. We use the truncated Dirichlet process (DP) as a non-parametric prior for such dynamic parameters in a novel nonlinear Bayesian dynamic factor analysis model. This is equivalent to specifying the prior distribution to be a mixture distribution composed of an unknown number of discrete point masses (or clusters). The stick-breaking prior and the blocked Gibbs sampler are used to enable efficient simulation of posterior samples. Using a series of empirical and simulation examples, we illustrate the flexibility of the proposed approach in approximating distributions of very diverse shapes.