IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

A note on the uncertain trend in US real GNP: Evidence from robust unit root test


  • Amélie Charles

    (Audencia Recherche - Audencia)

  • Olivier Darné

    () (LEMNA - Laboratoire d'économie et de management de Nantes Atlantique - UN - Université de Nantes)


In this paper, we test the presence of stochastic trend in long series of US real GNP measured by Balke and Gordon (1989) and Romer (1989). This is analyzed from two recent robust unit root tests proposed by Cavaliere and Georgiev (2009) and Lima and Xiao (2010), for which critical values are adapted to the small sample size. The former is improved by selecting optimally GLS detrending parameter to make the test in small samples powerful. We obtain mixed results on the full sample (1869--1993). However, the post-1929 GNP and GNP per capita series reject the unit-root null hypothesis, whereas for the pre-1929 GNP data, i.e. the period where the GNP series have been reconstructed, the unit-root hypothesis is not rejected for GNP series proposed by Balke-Gordon and Romer but this hypothesis is rejected for the same series in per capita form. This difference can be explained by the data-construction procedure employed for the pre-1929 GNP series.

Suggested Citation

  • Amélie Charles & Olivier Darné, 2010. "A note on the uncertain trend in US real GNP: Evidence from robust unit root test," Working Papers hal-00547737, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:hal-00547737
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server:

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Simon Broda & Kai Carstensen & Marc Paolella, 2009. "Assessing and Improving the Performance of Nearly Efficient Unit Root Tests in Small Samples," Econometric Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(5), pages 468-494.
    2. Lima Luiz Renato & Xiao Zhijie, 2010. "Testing Unit Root Based on Partially Adaptive Estimation," Journal of Time Series Econometrics, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-34, June.
    3. Franses, Philip Hans & Haldrup, Niels, 1994. "The Effects of Additive Outliers on Tests for Unit Roots and Cointegration," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 12(4), pages 471-478, October.
    4. Potscher, Benedikt M. & Prucha, Ingmar R., 1986. "A class of partially adaptive one-step m-estimators for the non-linear regression model with dependent observations," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 219-251, July.
    5. Sen, Amit, 2003. "On Unit-Root Tests When the Alternative Is a Trend-Break Stationary Process," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 21(1), pages 174-184, January.
    6. Romer, Christina D, 1989. "The Prewar Business Cycle Reconsidered: New Estimates of Gross National Product, 1869-1908," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(1), pages 1-37, February.
    7. Lucas, André, 1995. "Unit Root Tests Based on M Estimators," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(02), pages 331-346, February.
    8. Cavaliere, Giuseppe & Georgiev, Iliyan, 2009. "Robust Inference In Autoregressions With Multiple Outliers," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 25(06), pages 1625-1661, December.
    9. Thompson, Samuel B., 2004. "Robust Tests Of The Unit Root Hypothesis Should Not Be," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(02), pages 360-381, April.
    10. Perron, Pierre & Rodriguez, Gabriel, 2003. "GLS detrending, efficient unit root tests and structural change," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 1-27, July.
    11. Montanes, Antonio & Olloqui, Irene & Calvo, Elena, 2005. "Selection of the break in the Perron-type tests," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 129(1-2), pages 41-64.
    12. Dezhbakhsh, Hashem & Levy, Daniel, 1994. "Periodic properties of interpolated time series," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 221-228.
    13. Rudebusch, Glenn D, 1993. "The Uncertain Unit Root in Real GNP," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 264-272, March.
    14. Peter Burridge & A. M. Robert Taylor, 2006. "Additive Outlier Detection Via Extreme-Value Theory," Journal of Time Series Analysis, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(5), pages 685-701, September.
    15. Lucas, Andre, 1995. "An outlier robust unit root test with an application to the extended Nelson-Plosser data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1-2), pages 153-173.
    16. Cheung, Yin-Wong & Chinn, Menzie D, 1997. "Further Investigation of the Uncertain Unit Root in GNP," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 15(1), pages 68-73, January.
    17. Hoek, Henk & Lucas, Andre & van Dijk, Herman K., 1995. "Classical and Bayesian aspects of robust unit root inference," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 27-59, September.
    18. Kim, Tae-Hwan & Leybourne, Stephen J & Newbold, Paul, 2000. " Spurious Rejections by Perron Tests in the Presence of a Break," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 62(3), pages 433-444, July.
    19. Balke, Nathan S & Gordon, Robert J, 1989. "The Estimation of Prewar Gross National Product: Methodology and New Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(1), pages 38-92, February.
    20. Serena Ng & Pierre Perron, 2001. "LAG Length Selection and the Construction of Unit Root Tests with Good Size and Power," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(6), pages 1519-1554, November.
    21. Stock, James H. & Watson, Mark W., 1986. "Does GNP have a unit root?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 22(2-3), pages 147-151.
    22. Darné, Olivier, 2009. "The uncertain unit root in real GNP: A re-examination," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 153-166, March.
    23. Papell, David H & Prodan, Ruxandra, 2004. "The Uncertain Unit Root in U.S. Real GDP: Evidence with Restricted and Unrestricted Structural Change," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(3), pages 423-427, June.
    24. Steven Cook, 2006. "A finite-sample sensitivity analysis of the Dickey-Fuller test under local-to-unity detrending," Journal of Applied Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(2), pages 233-240.
    25. Diebold, Francis X & Senhadji, Abdelhak S, 1996. "The Uncertain Unit Root in Real GNP: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1291-1298, December.
    26. Balke, Nathan S. & Fomby, Thomas B., 1991. "Shifting trends, segmented trends, and infrequent permanent shocks," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 61-85, August.
    27. Newbold, Paul & Leybourne, Stephen & Wohar, Mark E., 2001. "Trend-stationarity, difference-stationarity, or neither: further diagnostic tests with an application to U.S. Real GNP, 1875-1993," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 85-102.
    28. Hall, Alastair R, 1994. "Testing for a Unit Root in Time Series with Pretest Data-Based Model Selection," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 12(4), pages 461-470, October.
    29. Jaeger, Albert, 1990. "Shock persistence and the measurement of prewar output series," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 333-337, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    GNP; robust unit root test;

    JEL classification:

    • C2 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables
    • N1 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:hal-00547737. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (CCSD). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.