Data-Adaptive Estimation of Time-Varying Spectral Densities

Anne van Delft*, Michael Eichler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Web of Science)


This article introduces a data-adaptive nonparametric approach for the estimation of time-varying spectral densities from nonstationary time series. Time-varying spectral densities are commonly estimated by local kernel smoothing. The performance of these nonparametric estimators, however, depends crucially on the smoothing bandwidths that need to be specified in both time and frequency direction. As an alternative and extension to traditional bandwidth selection methods, we propose an iterative algorithm for constructing localized smoothing kernels data-adaptively. The main idea, inspired by the concept of propagation-separation, is to determine for a point in the time-frequency plane the largest local vicinity over which smoothing is justified by the data. By shaping the smoothing kernels nonparametrically, our method not only avoids the problem of bandwidth selection in the strict sense but also becomes more flexible. It not only adapts to changing curvature in smoothly varying spectra but also adjusts for structural breaks in the time-varying spectrum. Supplementary materials, including the R package tvspecAdapt containing an implementation of the routine, are available online.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-255
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Computational and Graphical Statistics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2019


  • Data-adaptive kernel estimation
  • Local stationary processes

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