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Avoiding the Pitfalls: Can Regime-Switching Tests Detect Bubbles?

  • Simon van Norden

    (Bank of Canada, International Department)

  • Robert Vigfusson

Work on testing for bubbles has caused much debate, much of which has focused on methodology. Monte Carlo simulations reported in Evans (1991) showed that standard tests for unit roots and cointegration frequently reject the presence of bubbles even when such bubbles are present by construction. Evans referred to this problem as the pitfall of testing for bubbles. Since Evans' note, new tests for rational speculative bubbles that rely on regime switching have been proposed. van Norden and Schaller (1993) and van Norden (1996) use a switching regression to look for a time- varying relationship between returns and deviations from an approximate fundamental price. Hall and Sola (1993) and Funke, Hall and Sola (1994) test whether asset prices seem to switch between explosive growth and stationary behaviour. Our paper does Monte Carlo experiments using Evan's data generating process to gauge the performance of these two kinds of regime-switching tests. These rely heavily on new fast robust programs developed at the Bank of Canada for the estimation of switching regression models, which make Monte Carlo studies of such estimators practical. We find that for some (but not all) parameter values, regime-switching tests have significant amount of power to detect periodically collapsing bubbles. We also compare and contrast the performance of the two different regime-switching tests.

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Date of creation: 08 Mar 1996
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Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpme:9603001
Note: Paper to be presented at the SNDE meeting in Boston March 16th. Text and Graphs in separate Postscript files. Both files compressed in a single Info-zip archive, then uuencoded.
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  1. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth Rogoff, 1982. "Speculative Hyperinflations in Maximizing Models: Can We Rule Them Out?," NBER Working Papers 0855, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Kenneth D. West, 1986. "A Specification Test for Speculative Bubbles," NBER Working Papers 2067, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Van Norden, S. & Vigfusson, R., 1996. "Regime-Switching Models, A guide to the Bank of Canada Gauss Procedures," Working Papers 96-3, Bank of Canada.
  4. Bulow, Jeremy & Klemperer, Paul, 1994. "Rational Frenzies and Crashes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(1), pages 1-23, February.
  5. Francis X. Diebold & Joon-Haeng Lee & Gretchen C. Weinbach, 1993. "Regime switching with time-varying transition probabilities," Working Papers 93-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  6. Froot, Kenneth A & Obstfeld, Maurice, 1991. "Intrinsic Bubbles: The Case of Stock Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1189-214, December.
  7. Tirole, Jean, 1982. "On the Possibility of Speculation under Rational Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1163-81, September.
  8. Hamilton, James D. & Whiteman, Charles H., 1985. "The observable implications of self-fulfilling expectations," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 353-373, November.
  9. De Long, J. Bradford & Shleifer, Andrei & Summers, Lawrence H. & Waldmann, Robert J., 1990. "Noise Trader Risk in Financial Markets," Scholarly Articles 3725552, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Gilles, Christian & LeRoy, Stephen F, 1992. "Bubbles and Charges," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 33(2), pages 323-39, May.
  11. Weil, Philippe, 1990. "On the Possibility of Price Decreasing Bubbles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(6), pages 1467-74, November.
  12. Obstfeld, Maurice & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1986. "Ruling out divergent speculative bubbles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 349-362, May.
  13. LeRoy, Stephen F, 1989. "Efficient Capital Markets and Martingales," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(4), pages 1583-1621, December.
  14. Funke, Michael & Hall, Stephen & Sola, Martin, 1994. "Rational bubbles during Poland's hyperinflation: Implications and empirical evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 1257-1276, June.
  15. Simon van Norden, 1995. "Regime Switching as a Test for Exchange Rate Bubbles," Econometrics 9502001, EconWPA, revised 09 Aug 1995.
  16. Flood, Robert P & Hodrick, Robert J, 1990. "On Testing for Speculative Bubbles," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 85-101, Spring.
  17. Tirole, Jean, 1985. "Asset Bubbles and Overlapping Generations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(6), pages 1499-1528, November.
  18. Bhargava, Alok, 1986. "On the Theory of Testing for Unit Roots in Observed Time Series," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(3), pages 369-84, July.
  19. Simon van Norden & Huntley Schaller & ), 1995. "Speculative Behaviour, Regime-Switching, and Stock Market Crashes," Econometrics 9502003, EconWPA.
  20. Franklin Allen & Gary Gorton, 1991. "Rational Finite Bubbles," NBER Working Papers 3707, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. van Norden, Simon & Schaller, Huntley, 1993. "The Predictability of Stock Market Regime: Evidence from the Toronto Stock Exchange," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(3), pages 505-10, August.
  22. Charemza, Wojciech W. & Deadman, Derek F., 1995. "Speculative bubbles with stochastic explosive roots: The failure of unit root testing," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 153-163, June.
  23. Diba, Behzad T & Grossman, Herschel I, 1987. "On the Inception of Rational Bubbles," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(3), pages 697-700, August.
  24. Diba, Behzad T & Grossman, Herschel I, 1988. "Explosive Rational Bubbles in Stock Prices?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 520-30, June.
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