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The Size and Power of the Variance Ratio Test in Finite Samples: A Monte Carlo Investigation

  • Andrew W. Lo
  • Craig A. MacKinlay

We examine the finite sample properties of the variance ratio test of the random walk hypothesis via Monte Carlo simulations under two null and three alternative hypotheses. These results are compared to the performance of the Dickey-Fuller t and the Box-Pierce Q statistics. Under the null hypothesis of a random walk with independent and identically distributed Gaussian increments, the empirical size of all three tests are comparable. Under a heteroscedastic random walk null, the variance ratio test is more reliable than either the Dickey-Fuller or Box-Pierce tests. We compute the power of these three tests against three alternatives of recent empirical interest: a stationary AR(l), the sum of this AR(1) and a random walk, and an integrated AR(1). By choosing the sampling frequency appropriately, the variance ratio test is shown to be as powerful as the Dickey-Fuller and Box-Pierce tests against the stationary alternative, and is more powerful than either of the two tests against the two unit-root alternatives.

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Paper provided by Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research in its series Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers with number 28-87.

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Handle: RePEc:fth:pennfi:28-87
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  1. Poterba, James M & Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. "The Persistence of Volatility and Stock Market Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1142-51, December.
  2. White, Halbert & Domowitz, Ian, 1984. "Nonlinear Regression with Dependent Observations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 143-61, January.
  3. Robert J. Shiller, 1980. "The Use of Volatility Measures in Assessing Market Efficiency," NBER Working Papers 0565, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Schwert, G. William, 1987. "Effects of model specification on tests for unit roots in macroeconomic data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 73-103, July.
  5. Peter C.B. Phillips & Pierre Perron, 1986. "Testing for a Unit Root in Time Series Regression," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 795R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Sep 1987.
  6. John Y. Campbell & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1986. "Are Output Fluctuations Transitory?," NBER Working Papers 1916, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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. Robert J. Shiller & Pierre Perron, 1985. "Testing the Random Walk Hypothesis: Power versus Frequency of Observation," NBER Technical Working Papers 0045, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
  10. Dufour, Jean-Marie & Roy, Roch, 1985. "Some robust exact results on sample autocorrelations and tests of randomness," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 257-273, September.
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