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

  • Andrew W. Lo
  • A. Craig 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(1), 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 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Technical Working Papers with number 0066.

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Date of creation: Jun 1988
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Journal of Econometrics, vol. 40, 1989, pp. 203-238
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberte:0066
Note: ME
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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Campbell, John & Mankiw, Gregory, 1987. "Are Output Fluctuations Transitory?," Scholarly Articles 3122545, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. James M. Poterba & Lawrence H. Summers, 1984. "The Persistence of Volatility and Stock Market Fluctuations," Working papers 353, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  6. 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.
  7. Robert J. Shiller, 1980. "The Use of Volatility Measures in Assessing Market Efficiency," NBER Working Papers 0565, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
  9. White, Halbert & Domowitz, Ian, 1984. "Nonlinear Regression with Dependent Observations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 143-61, January.
  10. 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.
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