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Bayesian Skepticism on Unit Root Econometrics

Discussion Paper 3 | Published May 1, 1988

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Christopher A. Sims

Bayesian Skepticism on Unit Root Econometrics


This paper examines several grounds for doubting the value of much of the special attention recently devoted to unit root econometrics. Unit root hypotheses are less well connected to economic theory than is often suggested or assumed; distribution theory for tests of other hypotheses in models containing unit roots are less often affected by the presence of unit roots than has been widely recognized; and the Bayesian inferential theory for dynamic models is largely unaffected by the presence of unit roots. The paper displays an example to show that when Bayesian probability statements and classical marginal significance levels diverge as they do for unit root models, the marginal significance levels are misleading. The paper shows how to carry out Bayesian inference when discrete weight is given to the unit root null hypothesis in a univariate model.

Published In: Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control (Vol. 12, No. 2/3, June-September 1988, pp. 463-474)