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Unit-Root Tests Are Useful for Selecting Forecasting Models

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  • Diebold, Francis X
  • Kilian, Lutz

Abstract

We study the usefulness of unit-root tests as diagnostic tools for selecting forecasting models. Difference-stationary and trend-stationary models of economic and financial time series often imply very different predictions, so deciding which model to use is tremendously important for applied forecasters. We consider three strategies: always difference the data, never difference, or use a unit-root pretest. We characterize the predictive loss of these strategies for the canonical AR(1) process with trend, focusing on the effects of sample size, forecast horizon, and degree of persistence. We show that pretesting routinely improves forecast accuracy relative to forecasts from models in differences, and we give conditions under which pretesting is likely to improve forecast accuracy relative to forecasts from models in levels.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Statistical Association in its journal Journal of Business and Economic Statistics.

Volume (Year): 18 (2000)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 265-73

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Handle: RePEc:bes:jnlbes:v:18:y:2000:i:3:p:265-73

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  1. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum, 1990. "Unit roots in real GNP: do we know, and do we care?," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 90-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  2. Eugene Canjels & Mark W. Watson, 1997. "Estimating Deterministic Trends In The Presence Of Serially Correlated Errors," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(2), pages 184-200, May.
  3. Denis Kwiatkowski & Peter C.B. Phillips & Peter Schmidt, 1991. "Testing the Null Hypothesis of Stationarity Against the Alternative of a Unit Root: How Sure Are We That Economic Time Series Have a Unit Root?," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 979, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  4. Zivot, Eric & Andrews, Donald W K, 2002. "Further Evidence on the Great Crash, the Oil-Price Shock, and the Unit-Root Hypothesis," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 25-44, January.
  5. Peter C.B. Phillips & Werner Ploberger, 1992. "Posterior Odds Testing for a Unit Root with Data-Based Model Selection," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1017, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  6. Caner, Mehmet & Kilian, Lutz, 1999. "Size distortions of tests of the null hypothesis of stationarity: Evidence and implications for applied work," ZEI Working Papers B 12-1999, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.
  7. Ng, S. & Perron, P., 1994. "Unit Root Tests ARMA Models with Data Dependent Methods for the Selection of the Truncation Lag," Cahiers de recherche 9423, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en ├ęconomie quantitative, CIREQ.
  8. Andrews, Donald W K & Chen, Hong-Yuan, 1994. "Approximately Median-Unbiased Estimation of Autoregressive Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 12(2), pages 187-204, April.
  9. Michael P. Clements & David F. Hendry, 1999. "On winning forecasting competitions in economics," Spanish Economic Review, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 123-160.
  10. Christoffersen, Peter F & Diebold, Francis X, 1998. "Cointegration and Long-Horizon Forecasting," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 16(4), pages 450-58, October.
  11. Diebold, Francis X & Senhadji, Abdelhak S, 1996. "The Uncertain Unit Root in Real GNP: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1291-98, December.
  12. Lutz Kilian, 1998. "Small-Sample Confidence Intervals For Impulse Response Functions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(2), pages 218-230, May.
  13. Leybourne, S J & McCabe, B P M, 1994. "A Consistent Test for a Unit Root," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 12(2), pages 157-66, April.
  14. Stock, James H, 1996. "VAR, Error Correction and Pretest Forecasts at Long Horizons," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 58(4), pages 685-701, November.
  15. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1998. "A Comparison of Linear and Nonlinear Univariate Models for Forecasting Macroeconomic Time Series," NBER Working Papers 6607, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Campbell, J.Y. & Perron, P., 1991. "Pitfalls and Opportunities: What Macroeconomics should know about unit roots," Papers 360, Princeton, Department of Economics - Econometric Research Program.
  17. Rudebusch, Glenn D, 1993. "The Uncertain Unit Root in Real GNP," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 264-72, March.
  18. Elliott, Graham & Rothenberg, Thomas J & Stock, James H, 1996. "Efficient Tests for an Autoregressive Unit Root," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(4), pages 813-36, July.
  19. Franses, Philip Hans & Kleibergen, Frank, 1996. "Unit roots in the Nelson-Plosser data: Do they matter for forecasting?," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 283-288, June.
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