September 1997

The GMM Parameter Normalization Puzzle

Charles A. Fleischman


A feature of GMM estimation--the use of a consistent estimate of the optimal weighting matrix rather than the joint estimation of the model parameters and the weighting matrix--can lead to the sensitivity of GMM estimation to the choice of parameter normalization. In many applications, including Euler equation estimation, a model parameter multiplies the equation error in some, but not all, normalizations. But, conventional GMM estimators that either hold the estimate of the weighting matrix fixed or allow some limited iteration on the weighting matrix fail to account for the dependence of the weighting matrix on the parameter vector implied by the multiplication of the error by the parameter. In finite samples, GMM effectively minimizes the square of the parameter times the objective function that obtains from an alternative normalization where no parameter multiplies the equation error, resulting in estimates that are smaller (in absolute value) than those from the alternative normalization. Of course, normalization is irrelevant asymptotically.

Full paper (1089 KB Postscript)

Keywords: GMM, finite-sample, normalization, euler-equation, adjustment-costs--employment

PDF: Full Paper

Disclaimer: The economic research that is linked from this page represents the views of the authors and does not indicate concurrence either by other members of the Board's staff or by the Board of Governors. The economic research and their conclusions are often preliminary and are circulated to stimulate discussion and critical comment. The Board values having a staff that conducts research on a wide range of economic topics and that explores a diverse array of perspectives on those topics. The resulting conversations in academia, the economic policy community, and the broader public are important to sharpening our collective thinking.

Back to Top
Last Update: February 12, 2021