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Unit roots in real GNP: do we know, and do we care?

  • Lawrence J. Christiano
  • Martin Eichenbaum

No, and maybe not. [additional text from author's introduction] To us, the possibility of providing a compelling case that real GMP is either trend or difference stationary seems extremely small, certainly on the basis of post-war data. This is because there is only one difference between these two types of processes and that difference is completely summarized by the answer to the question. How much should an innovation to real GMP affect the optimal forecast of real GMP into the infinite future? If the answer is zero, then real GMP is trend stationary. If the answer is not zero, then real GMP is difference stationary. The competing hypotheses have no other testable differences. Once we pose the question in this way, it seems clear that economists ought to be extremely skeptical of any argument that purports to support one view or the other. Simply put, it's hard to believe that a mere 40 years of data contain any evidence on the only experiment that is relevant.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics with number 18.

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Date of creation: 1989
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmem:18
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  1. Edward C. Prescott, 1986. "Theory ahead of business cycle measurement," Staff Report 102, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Christopher A. Sims, 1988. "Bayesian skepticism on unit root econometrics," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 3, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  3. Christiano, Lawrence J. & Ljungqvist, Lars, 1988. "Money does Granger-cause output in the bivariate money-output relation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 217-235, September.
  4. Christiano, Lawrence J, 1987. "Is Consumption Insufficiently Sensitive to Innovations in Income?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 337-41, May.
  5. Christiano, Lawrence J & Eichenbaum, Martin & Marshall, David, 1991. "The Permanent Income Hypothesis Revisited," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(2), pages 397-423, March.
  6. Campbell, John & Deaton, Angus, 1989. "Why Is Consumption So Smooth?," Scholarly Articles 3221494, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Cochrane, John H, 1988. "How Big Is the Random Walk in GNP?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(5), pages 893-920, October.
  8. Flavin, Marjorie A, 1981. "The Adjustment of Consumption to Changing Expectations about Future Income," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 974-1009, October.
  9. Campbell, John Y & Mankiw, N Gregory, 1987. "Are Output Fluctuations Transitory?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(4), pages 857-80, November.
  10. Robert G. King & Charles I. Plosser & James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1987. "Stochastic Trends and Economic Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 2229, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Thomas J. Sargent, 1976. "Econometric exogeneity and alternative estimators of portfolio balance schedules for hyperinflations: a note," Working Papers 79, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  12. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum, 1987. "Temporal aggregation and structural inference in macroeconomics," Working Papers 306, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  13. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Quah, Danny, 1989. "The Dynamic Effects of Aggregate Demand and Supply Disturbances," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 655-73, September.
  14. Kohn, R, 1979. "Asymptotic Estimation and Hypothesis Testing Results for Vector Linear Time Series Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(4), pages 1005-30, July.
  15. Gary D. Hansen, 1989. "Technical Progress and Aggregate Fluctuations," UCLA Economics Working Papers 546, UCLA Department of Economics.
  16. Nelson, Charles R. & Plosser, Charles I., 1982. "Trends and random walks in macroeconmic time series : Some evidence and implications," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 139-162.
  17. Lawrence J. Christiano & Lars Ljungqvist, 1987. "Money does Granger-cause output in the bivariate output-money relation," Staff Report 108, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  18. King, Robert G. & Plosser, Charles I. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1988. "Production, growth and business cycles : II. New directions," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 309-341.
  19. Plosser, Charles I. & Schwert, G. William, 1977. "Estimation of a non-invertible moving average process : The case of overdifferencing," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 199-224, September.
  20. Sargan, J D & Bhargava, Alok, 1983. "Maximum Likelihood Estimation of Regression Models with First Order Moving Average Errors When the Root Lies on the Unit Circle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(3), pages 799-820, May.
  21. Kenneth D. West, 1987. "The Insensitivity of Consumption to News About Income," NBER Working Papers 2252, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Watson, Mark W., 1986. "Univariate detrending methods with stochastic trends," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 49-75, July.
  23. Clark, Peter K, 1987. "The Cyclical Component of U.S. Economic Activity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(4), pages 797-814, November.
  24. DeJong, David N, et al, 1992. "Integration versus Trend Stationarity in Time Series," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 423-33, March.
  25. Long, John B, Jr & Plosser, Charles I, 1983. "Real Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(1), pages 39-69, February.
  26. Blanchard, Olivier J, 1981. "What Is Left of the Multiplier Accelerator?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(2), pages 150-54, May.
  27. Hall, Robert E, 1978. "Stochastic Implications of the Life Cycle-Permanent Income Hypothesis: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 971-87, December.
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