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On the Irrelevance of Impossibility Theorems: The Case of the Long-run Variance

Author

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  • Pierre Perron

    () (Department of Economics, Boston University)

  • Linxia Ren

    () (Department of Economics, Boston University)

Abstract

It has been argued that estimating the spectral density function of a stationary stochastic process at the zero frequency (or the so-called long-run variance) is an illposed problem so that any estimate will have an infinite minimax risk (e.g., Pötscher 2002). Most often it is a nuisance parameter that is present in the limit distribution of some statistic and one then needs an estimate of it to obtain test statistics that have a pivotal distribution. In this context, we argue that such an impossibility result is irrelevant. We show that, in the presence of the discontinuities that cause the illposedness of the estimation problem for the long-run variance, using the true value of the spectral density function at frequency zero leads to tests that have either 0 or 100% size and, hence, lead to confidence intervals that are completely uninformative. On the other hand, tests based on standard estimates of the long-run variance will have well defined limit distributions and, accordingly, be more informative.

Suggested Citation

  • Pierre Perron & Linxia Ren, 2010. "On the Irrelevance of Impossibility Theorems: The Case of the Long-run Variance," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2010-049, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bos:wpaper:wp2010-049
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. John Y. Campbell & Pierre Perron, 1991. "Pitfalls and Opportunities: What Macroeconomists Should Know About Unit Roots," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1991, Volume 6, pages 141-220 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Faust, Jon, 1996. "Near Observational Equivalence and Theoretical size Problems with Unit Root Tests," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(04), pages 724-731, October.
    3. Jon Faust, 1999. "Conventional Confidence Intervals for Points on Spectrum Have Confidence Level Zero," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(3), pages 629-638, May.
    4. Jean-Marie Dufour, 1997. "Some Impossibility Theorems in Econometrics with Applications to Structural and Dynamic Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(6), pages 1365-1388, November.
    5. Andrews, Donald W K, 1991. "Heteroskedasticity and Autocorrelation Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(3), pages 817-858, May.
    6. Newey, Whitney & West, Kenneth, 2014. "A simple, positive semi-definite, heteroscedasticity and autocorrelation consistent covariance matrix," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 33(1), pages 125-132.
    7. Nicholas M. Kiefer & Timothy J. Vogelsang, 2002. "Heteroskedasticity-Autocorrelation Robust Standard Errors Using The Bartlett Kernel Without Truncation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(5), pages 2093-2095, September.
    8. Blough, Stephen R, 1992. "The Relationship between Power and Level for Generic Unit Root Tests in Finite Samples," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 7(3), pages 295-308, July-Sept.
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    Cited by:

    1. Preinerstorfer, David & Pötscher, Benedikt M., 2016. "On Size And Power Of Heteroskedasticity And Autocorrelation Robust Tests," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 32(02), pages 261-358, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Ill-posed problems; Robust inference; HAC estimates; Spectral density function at frequency zero.;

    JEL classification:

    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes

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