A Practitioner's Guide to Bayesian Estimation of Discrete Choice Dynamic Programming Models
Quantitative Marketing and Economics, Forthcoming
62 Pages Posted: 7 May 2009 Last revised: 15 Jan 2012
Date Written: October 27, 2011
This paper provides a step-by-step guide to estimating infinite horizon discrete choice dynamic programming (DDP) models using a new Bayesian estimation algorithm (Imai, Jain and Ching, Econometrica 77:1865-1899, 2009) (IJC). In the conventional nested fixed point algorithm, most of the information obtained in the past iterations remains unused in the current iteration. In contrast, the IJC algorithm extensively uses the computational results obtained from the past iterations to help solve the DDP model at the current iterated parameter values. Consequently, it has the potential to significantly alleviate the computational burden of estimating DDP models. To illustrate this new estimation method, we use a simple dynamic store choice model where stores offer "frequent-buyer" type reward programs. We show that the parameters of this model, including the discount factor, are well-identified. Our Monte Carlo results demonstrate that the IJC method is able to recover the true parameter values of this model quite precisely. We also show that the IJC method could reduce the estimation time significantly when estimating DDP models with unobserved heterogeneity, especially when the discount factor is close to 1.
Keywords: Bayesian Estimation, Dynamic Programming, Discrete Choice Models, Rewards Programs
JEL Classification: C11, C35, C61, D90, M31
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