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Seasonal unit root tests and the role of initial conditions


  • David I. Harvey
  • Stephen J. Leybourne
  • A. M. Robert Taylor


In the context of regression-based (quarterly) seasonal unit root tests, we examine the impact of initial conditions (one for each quarter) of the process on test power. We investigate the behaviour of the well-known OLS detrended HEGY seasonal unit root tests together with their quasi-differenced (QD) detrended analogues, when the initial conditions are not asymptotically negligible. We show that the asymptotic local power of a test at a given frequency depends on the value of particular linear (frequency specific) combinations of the initial conditions. Consistent with previous findings in the nonseasonal case, the QD detrended test at a given spectral frequency dominates on power for relatively small values of this combination, while the OLS detrended test dominates for larger values. Since, in practice, the seasonal initial conditions are not observed, in order to maintain good power across both small and large initial conditions, we develop tests based on a union of rejections decision rule; rejecting the unit root null at a given frequency (or group of frequencies) if either of the relevant QD and OLS detrended HEGY tests rejects. This procedure is shown to perform well in practice, simultaneously exploiting the superior power of the QD (OLS) detrended HEGY test for small (large) combinations of the initial conditions. Moreover, our procedure is particularly adept in the seasonal context since, by design, it exploits the power advantage of the QD (OLS) detrended HEGY tests at a particular frequency when the relevant initial condition is small (large) without imposing that same method of detrending on tests at other frequencies. Copyright The Author(s). Journal compilation Royal Economic Society 2008

Suggested Citation

  • David I. Harvey & Stephen J. Leybourne & A. M. Robert Taylor, 2008. "Seasonal unit root tests and the role of initial conditions," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 11(3), pages 409-442, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:ect:emjrnl:v:11:y:2008:i:3:p:409-442

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    Cited by:

    1. Anton Skrobotov, 2013. "On GLS-detrending for deterministic seasonality testing," Working Papers 0073, Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy, revised 2014.

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