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The Time Series Properties of Financial Ratios: Lev Revisited


  • Christos Ioannidis
  • David A. Peel
  • Michael J. Peel


This paper re-evaluates the time series properties of financial ratios. It presents new empirical analysis which explicitly allows for the possibility that financial ratios can be characterized as non-linear mean-reverting processes. Financial ratios are widely employed as explanatory variables in accounting and finance research with applications ranging from the determinants of auditors' compensation to explaining firms' investment decisions. An implicit assumption in this empirical work is that the ratios are stationary so that the postulated models can be estimated by classical regression methods. However, recent empirical work on the time series properties of corporate financial ratios has reported that the level of the majority of ratios is described by non-stationary, "I"(1), integrated processes and that the ratio differences are parsimoniously described by random walks. We hypothesize that financial ratios may follow a random walk near their target level, but that the more distant a ratio is from target, the more likely the firm is to take remedial action to bring it back towards target. This behavior will result in a significant size distortion of the conventional stationarity tests and lead to frequent non-rejection of the null hypothesis of non-stationarity, a finding which undermines the use of these ratios as reliable conditioning variables for the explanation of firms' decisions. Copyright Blackwell Publishers Ltd, 2003.

Suggested Citation

  • Christos Ioannidis & David A. Peel & Michael J. Peel, 2003. "The Time Series Properties of Financial Ratios: Lev Revisited," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(5-6), pages 699-714.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jbfnac:v:30:y:2003-06:i:5-6:p:699-714

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Peter Phillips & Hyungsik Moon, 2000. "Nonstationary panel data analysis: an overview of some recent developments," Econometric Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(3), pages 263-286.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andros Gregoriou, 2010. "Corporate Valuation and Dividends: UK Evidence from Panel Unit Root and Cointegration Tests," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 38(1), pages 15-22, March.
    2. Daniel Ventosa-Santaulària & Carlos Vladimir Rodríguez-Caballero, 2013. "Polynomial Regressions and Nonsense Inference," Econometrics, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 1(3), pages 1-13, November.
    3. Andros Gregoriou & Alexandros Kontonikas, 2006. "Inflation Targeting And The Stationarity Of Inflation: New Results From An Estar Unit Root Test," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(4), pages 309-322, October.
    4. Stuart McLeay & Maxwell Stevenson, 2006. "Modelling the Longitudinal Properties of Financial Ratios of European Firms," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp184, IIIS.
    5. M. E. Bontempi & L. Bottazzi & R. Golinelli, 2015. "Dynamic corporate capital structure behavior: empirical assessment in the light of heterogeneity and non stationarity," Working Papers wp988, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    6. Claudia M. Buch & Esteban Prieto, 2014. "Do Better Capitalized Banks Lend Less? Long-Run Panel Evidence from Germany," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(1), pages 1-23, March.
    7. George Kapetanios & Yongcheol Shin, 2006. "Unit root tests in three-regime SETAR models," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 9(2), pages 252-278, July.
    8. Nikolas Topaloglou, 2015. "Minimizing bank liquidity risk: evidence from the Lehman crisis," Eurasian Business Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 5(1), pages 23-44, June.
    9. Ghassan, Hassan B. & Fachin, Stefano, 2016. "Time series analysis of financial stability of banks: Evidence from Saudi Arabia," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 3-17.
    10. Jose Luis Gallizo & Pilar Gargallo & Manuel Salvador, 2008. "Multivariate partial adjustment of financial ratios: a Bayesian hierarchical approach," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(1), pages 43-64.
    11. David Peel & Michael Peel & Ioannis Venetis, 2004. "Further empirical analysis of the time series properties of financial ratios based on a panel data approach," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(3), pages 155-163.

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