The Granger Centre for Time Series Econometrics

GC 07/04: Testing for a unit root in the presence of a possible break in trend



In this paper we consider the issue of testing a time series for a unit root in the possible presence of a break in a linear deterministic trend at some unknown point in the series. We propose a break fraction estimator which, in the presence of a break in trend, is consistent for the true break fraction at rate Op(T^-1) when there is either a unit root or near-unit root in the stochastic component of the series. In contrast to other estimators available in the literature, when there is no break in trend, our proposed break fraction estimator converges to zero at rate Op(T^-1/2). Used in conjunction with a quasi difference (QD) detrended unit root test that incorporates a trend break regressor in the deterministic component, we show that these rates of convergence ensure that known break fraction null critical values are applicable asymptotically. Unlike available procedures in the literature this holds even if there is no break in trend (the true break fraction is zero), in which case the trend break regressor is dropped from the deterministic component and standard QD detrended unit root test critical values then apply. We also propose a second testing procedure which makes use of a formal pre-test for a trend break in the series, including a trend break regressor only where the pre-test rejects the null of no break. Both procedures ensure that the correctly sized (near-) efficient unit root test that allows (does not allow) for a break in trend is applied in the limit when a trend break does (does not) occur.

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David Harris, David I. Harvey, Stephen J. Leybourne and A. M. Robert Taylor


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Posted on Monday 1st October 2007

The Granger Centre for Time Series Econometrics

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