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Nonstationarity and Nonlinearity in the US Unemployment Rate: A Re-examination


  • Dipak Ghosh
  • Swarna (Bashu) Dutt


Conventional econometric tests cannot distinguish nonstationarity from nonlinearity because of the joint modeling of unit roots with threshold effects. Caner–Hansen (CH, 2001) provides a new test which for the first time can simultaneously test for both (without any prior assumption of stationarity). Their threshold unit root tests are more powerful than conventional Augmented Dickey-Fuller tests, especially when the true process is nonlinear. They look at unemployment among adult males, and find contrary to many previous studies, that it is a “stationary nonlinear threshold process”. This paper attempts to re-examine and reconfirm the CH methodology by using unemployment in the civilian labor force. We extend the data up to December 2004, to see if the results hold up to the recent turbulent times, when unemployment changed dramatically from 3.9 % (1999) to 6.2 % (2003). Our results support the premise that US unemployment is a stationary threshold autoregressive process.

Suggested Citation

  • Dipak Ghosh & Swarna (Bashu) Dutt, . "Nonstationarity and Nonlinearity in the US Unemployment Rate: A Re-examination," Journal for Economic Educators, Middle Tennessee State University, Business and Economic Research Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:mts:jrnlee:200809

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Philip Arestis & Andrea Cipollini & Bassam Fattouh, 2004. "Threshold Effects in the U.S. Budget Deficit," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 42(2), pages 214-222, April.
    2. Kwiatkowski, Denis & Phillips, Peter C. B. & Schmidt, Peter & Shin, Yongcheol, 1992. "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?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1-3), pages 159-178.
    3. Dickey, David A & Fuller, Wayne A, 1981. "Likelihood Ratio Statistics for Autoregressive Time Series with a Unit Root," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 1057-1072, June.
    4. Bruce E. Hansen, 2000. "Sample Splitting and Threshold Estimation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(3), pages 575-604, May.
    5. Mehmet Caner & Bruce E. Hansen, 2001. "Threshold Autoregression with a Unit Root," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(6), pages 1555-1596, November.
    6. Hansen, Bruce E, 1996. "Inference When a Nuisance Parameter Is Not Identified under the Null Hypothesis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(2), pages 413-430, March.
    7. Pippenger, Michael K & Goering, Gregory E, 1993. "A Note on the Empirical Power of Unit Root Tests under Threshold Processes," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 55(4), pages 473-481, November.
    8. van Dijk, Dick & Franses, Philip Hans & Paap, Richard, 2002. "A nonlinear long memory model, with an application to US unemployment," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 110(2), pages 135-165, October.
    9. Hansen Bruce E., 1997. "Inference in TAR Models," Studies in Nonlinear Dynamics & Econometrics, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-16, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hongmei Zhao & Vincent Hogan, 2011. "Measuring the NAIRU — A structural VAR approach," Frontiers of Economics in China, Springer;Higher Education Press, vol. 6(1), pages 76-91, March.
    2. Lee, Cheng-Feng & Hu, Te-Chung & Li, Ping-Cheng & Tsong, Ching-Chuan, 2013. "Asymmetric behavior of unemployment rates: Evidence from the quantile covariate unit root test," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 72-84.
    3. Lee, Cheng-Feng, 2010. "Testing for unemployment hysteresis in nonlinear heterogeneous panels: International evidence," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 1097-1102, September.
    4. Aviral Tiwari, 2014. "Unemployment hysteresis in Australia: evidence using nonlinear and stationarity tests with breaks," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 48(2), pages 681-695, March.
    5. Chang, Tsangyao & Lee, Chia-Hao, 2011. "Hysteresis in Unemployment for G-7 Countries: Threshold Unit Root Test," Journal for Economic Forecasting, Institute for Economic Forecasting, vol. 0(4), pages 5-14, December.

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