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Deterministic vs. Stochastic Trend in U.S. GNP, Yet Again

  • Francis X. Diebold
  • Abdelhak S. Senhadji

A sleepy consensus has emerged that U.S. GNP data are uninformative as to whether trend is better described as deterministic or stochastic. Although the distinction is not critical in some contexts, it is important for point forecasting, because the two models imply very different long-run dynamics and hence different long-run forecasts. We argue that, even for the famously recalcitrant GNP series, unit root tests over long spans can be informative. Our results make clear that uncritical repetition of the `we don't know, and we don't care' mantra is just as scientifically irresponsible as blind adoption of the view that `all macroeconomic series are difference-stationary,' or the view that `all macroeconomic series are trend-stationary.' There is simply no substitute for serious, case- by-case analysis.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5481.

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Date of creation: Mar 1996
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Publication status: published as American Economic Review, 86, 1291-1298 (1996).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5481
Note: EFG
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  1. Rudebusch, Glenn D, 1993. "The Uncertain Unit Root in Real GNP," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 264-72, March.
  2. John Y. Campbell & Pierre Perron, 1991. "Pitfalls and Opportunities: What Macroeconomists Should Know About Unit Roots," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1991, Volume 6, pages 141-220 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Christiano, Lawrence J. & Eichenbaum, Martin, 1990. "Unit roots in real GNP: Do we know, and do we care?," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 7-61, January.
  4. DeJong, David N & Whiteman, Charles H, 1991. "The Case for Trend-Stationarity Is Stronger Than We Thought," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 6(4), pages 413-21, Oct.-Dec..
  5. Dickey, David A & Fuller, Wayne A, 1981. "Likelihood Ratio Statistics for Autoregressive Time Series with a Unit Root," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 1057-72, June.
  6. Graham Elliott & Thomas J. Rothenberg & James H. Stock, 1992. "Efficient Tests for an Autoregressive Unit Root," NBER Technical Working Papers 0130, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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.
  8. Diebold, Francis X. & Rudebusch, Glenn D., 1989. "Long memory and persistence in aggregate output," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 189-209, September.
  9. Meese, Richard & Geweke, John, 1984. "A Comparison of Autoregressive Univariate Forecasting Procedures for Macroeconomic Time Series," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 2(3), pages 191-200, July.
  10. Ng, S. & Perron, P., 1994. "Unit Root Tests ARMA Models with Data Dependent Methods for the Selection of the Truncation Lag," Cahiers de recherche 9423, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en ├ęconomie quantitative, CIREQ.
  11. 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.
  12. 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 461-70, October.
  13. Graham Elliott, 1998. "On the Robustness of Cointegration Methods when Regressors Almost Have Unit Roots," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(1), pages 149-158, January.
  14. 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.
  15. Perron, P, 1988. "The Great Crash, The Oil Price Shock And The Unit Root Hypothesis," Papers 338, Princeton, Department of Economics - Econometric Research Program.
  16. Stock, James H & Watson, Mark W, 1988. "Variable Trends in Economic Time Series," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 147-74, Summer.
  17. Stock, James H. & Watson, Mark W., 1986. "Does GNP have a unit root?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 22(2-3), pages 147-151.
  18. Zelhorst, Dick & de Haan, Jakob, 1994. "The Nonstationarity of Aggregate Output: Some Additional International Evidence," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 26(1), pages 23-33, February.
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