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Understanding Spurious Regressions in Econometrics

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Abstract

This paper provides an analytical study of spurious regressions involving the levels of economic time series. As asymptotic theory is developed for regressions that relate independent random walks. It is shown that the usual t ratio significance tests do not possess limiting distributions but actually diverge as the sample size T approaches infinity. The Durbin-Watson statistic, on the other hand, converges in probability to zero. An alternative asymptotic theory is also analyzed. An alternative asymptotic theory is developed based on the concept of continuous data recording. This theory together with the large sample asymptotics that we present go a long way towards explaining the experimental results of Granger and Newbold (1974, 1977).

Suggested Citation

  • Peter C.B. Phillips, 1985. "Understanding Spurious Regressions in Econometrics," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 757, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:757
    Note: CFP 667.
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Plosser, Charles I. & Schwert*, G. William, 1978. "Money, income, and sunspots: Measuring economic relationships and the effects of differencing," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 637-660, November.
    2. P. C. B. Phillips & S. N. Durlauf, 1986. "Multiple Time Series Regression with Integrated Processes," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(4), pages 473-495.
    3. Phillips, P. C. B., 1987. "Asymptotic Expansions in Nonstationary Vector Autoregressions," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(1), pages 45-68, February.
    4. Phillips, P C B, 1987. "Time Series Regression with a Unit Root," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 277-301, March.
    5. Alok Bhargava, 1986. "On the Theory of Testing for Unit Roots in Observed Time Series," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 369-384.
    6. Granger, C. W. J. & Newbold, P., 1974. "Spurious regressions in econometrics," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 111-120, July.
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