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Issues on Spurious Behaviors Christos Agiakloglou University of Piraeus Universidad Complutense de Madrid March 18, 2014

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Three topics on spurious behaviors Spurious Correlations for stationary AR(1) processes with Apostolos Tsimbanos The Balance between Size and Power with Charalambos Agiropoulos Spurious Regressions for non-linear or time varying coefficient processes with Anil Bera

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Spurious Behavior Granger and Newbold (1974) set the cat among the pigeons with their simulations results showing that when two independent drift- free random walks are used in a simple linear regression, one ends up with significant t-statistic 76% of the time. This phenomenon was introduced by Yule (1926) as a spurious correlation. Agiakloglou and Tsimpanos (2012) examined the spurious correlation phenomenon for stationary processes and they found no evidence of spurious behavior using the true variance of the sample correlation coefficient of the two independent AR(1) processes. However, it was left to Phillips (1986) to mathematically prove the Granger-Newbold simulation results, showing that the usual t- statistic does not have a limiting distribution. Entorf (1997) consider random walk with drifts. Granger, Hyung and Jeon (2001) found spurious results even for stationary independent AR(1) processes.

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The story continues Marmol (1995) who generalized the work of Phillips (1986) for high- order integrated processes, showed also that the Durbin Watson statistic will converge in probability to zero and therefore low values of this statistic are expected to appear in the presence of spurious regressions, a finding that was also indicated by Granger and Newbold (1974). Agiakloglou (2009) showed that evidence of serially correlated errors will also appear in the case of two independent stationary AR(1) processes, not only in first moments but also in second defined by an ARCH(1) error structure. Recall, that the presence of serially correlated errors in the context of spurious regression had also been investigated by Newbold and Davies (1978) for variables that were generated for non-stationary moving average processes. Tsay (1999) also examined spurious regression for I(1) processes with infinite variance errors.

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Two Examples Harvey ( 1980) Econometrics – Alchemy or science? studied the relationship between rainfall and inflation rate in U.K.. Ferson, Sarkissian and Simin (2003) Spurious regression in financial Economics found that many predictive stock return regressions in the literature, based on individual predicting variables, may be spurious.

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Spurious Correlations for Stationary AR(1) Processes An alternative approach for testing for linear association for two independent stationary AR(1) processes Story Number One

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Spurious Correlations vs. Spurious Regressions Two similar if not identical terms referring to the same phenomenon of obtaining false evidence about the existence of a linear relationship between two variables. In the case of spurious correlations the analyst has no indication about the existence of such behavior, unless he or she has some a priori information about the relationship between these two variables, such that a high absolute value of the sample correlation coefficient will be considered very suspicious. In the case of spurious regressions the analyst will have an indication such as low value of the Durbin-Watson as Granger and Newbold (1974) have pointed out, see also Marmol (1995) and Agiakloglou (2009). More difficult to detect spurious correlations.

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Testing for Linear Association The test of zero correlation in population is based on the following hypotheses: H 0 : ρ = 0 against H 1 : ρ 0 and it is implemented by the usual t statistic, i.e., where r is the sample correlation coefficient and T is the sample size. The t statistic follows a t distribution with (T - 2) degrees of freedom and the null hypothesis will be accepted if its absolute value is less than the critical value.

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Frequency Distribution of r Yule (1926) studied the properties of the sample correlation coefficient of two random variables and noticed that the major factor which determines this spurious behavior is the shape of the frequency distribution of the correlation coefficient of the two series. More precisely, if the distribution has a U shape it is certain that spurious correlations will arise. Banerjee, A., Dolado, J., Galbraith, J. W. and Hendry, D. F. (1993) using Monte Carlo analysis, examined the frequency distribution of the correlation coefficient for various orders of integrated independent time series verifying Yules (1926) initial results. They concluded:

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I) Frequency Distribution of r A) if the two series are stationary white noise processes, the frequency distribution of the correlation coefficient will be symmetric around zero and it will look like normal distribution. Frequency distribution for the correlation coefficient between two independent white noise processes (T=100 & 10,000 replications)

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II) Frequency Distribution of r B) if the two processes are non-stationary I(1) processes, the frequency distribution of the correlation coefficient will be semi-ellipse. Frequency distribution for the correlation coefficient between two independent I(1) processes (T=100 & 10,000 replications)

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III) Frequency Distribution of r C) If the two processes are non-stationary I(2) processes, the frequency distribution has a U shape with values of -1 and +1 to be more likely to occur. Frequency distribution for the correlation coefficient between two independent I(2) processes (T=100 & 10,000 replications)

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Frequency Distribution of t Consider: a) two independent white noise processes, b) two independent I(1) random walk processes, i.e., Y t = Y t-1 + u t, c) two independent non-stationary I(2) processes, i.e., Y t = 2Y t-1 – Y t-2 + u t, for sample size of 100 observations using 10,000 replications. Besides the percentage of rejections of the null hypothesis, the value of the standard deviation of the t statistic strongly deviates from one for the two non-stationary cases as appose to the white noise case which remains unchanged with value of one, regardless of the sample size. Note the scale of the graphical presentation is not the same.

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Simulation results for spurious correlations for white noise and non-stationary I(1) & I(2) processes based on 10,000 replications T Percentage of rejections of H 0 (|t| > 1.96) Mean value of r Standard deviation of r Mean value of t Standard deviation of t White Noise processes , I(1) processes , I(2) processes ,

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I) Frequency Distribution of t Frequency distribution for the t statistic between two independent white noise processes (T=100 & 10,000 replications)

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II) Frequency Distribution of t Frequency distribution for the t statistic between two independent I(1) processes (T=100 & 10,000 replications)

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III) Frequency Distribution of t Frequency distribution for the t statistic between two independent I(2) processes (T=100 & 10,000 replications)

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Spurious correlations for AR(1) Consider two independent AR(1) processes X t and Y t generated from the following DGP: and where the errors ε xt and ε yt are each white noise N(0, 1) processes independent of each other and the autoregressive parameters are allowed to take values of 0.0, 0.2, 0.5, 0.8 and 0.9. Note that if φ x = φ y = 1, both processes are non- stationary random walk processes without drift, whereas if φ x = φ y = 0, both processes are white noise processes.

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Simulation Results Unlike the two non-stationary cases, previously discussed and especially the I(1) case, the percentage of rejections of the null hypothesis of zero correlation remains unchanged regardless of the sample size. It is only affected by the magnitude of the autoregressive parameters. We get more spurious results as the value of the autoregressive parameter increases. For example, for φ x = φ y = 0.5, the null hypothesis is rejected approximately 13%, for the 5% nominal level, whereas for φ x = φ y = 0.9, this number becomes approximately 52%.

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Percentage of rejections of the null hypothesis of zero correlation at the 5% nominal level (|t| > 1.96) for two independent stationary AR(1) processes based on 10,000 replications Tφyφy φxφx ,

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I) Further Simulation Results Frequency distribution for the correlation coefficient Clearly, if the decision, as to whether or not spurious behavior exists, was based on the shape of the frequency distribution of the correlation coefficient, the analyst will have no indication in this case. The frequency distribution for the correlation coefficient of two independent stationary AR(1) processes is symmetric around mean zero and it looks very similar to the white noise case previously presented.

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Frequency Distribution of r Frequency distribution for the correlation coefficient between two independent AR(1) processes for φ χ = φ y = 0.5 (T=100 & 10,000 replications)

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Frequency Distribution of r Frequency distribution for the correlation coefficient between two independent AR(1) processes for φ χ = φ y = 0.9 (T=100 & 10,000 replications)

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II) Further Simulation Results Frequency distribution for the t statistic As in the case of non-stationary processes, the problem of spurious correlations appears because the value of the standard deviation of the t statistic for testing the null hypothesis of zero correlation is not one for all values of the autoregressive parameters. Thus, although the frequency distribution for the t statistic is symmetric around mean zero, it becomes flatter than the standard normal distribution as the value of the autoregressive parameters increases. The standard deviation of the t statistic is affected only by the values of the autoregressive parameters and not by the sample size.

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Standard deviation of the t statistic for testing the null hypothesis of zero correlation for two independent stationary AR(1) processes based on 10,000 replications Tφyφy φxφx ,

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Frequency Distribution of t Frequency distribution for the t statistic between two independent AR(1) processes for φ χ = φ y = 0.5 (T=100 & 10,000 replications)

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Frequency Distribution of t Frequency distribution for the t statistic between two independent AR(1) processes for φ χ = φ y = 0.9 (T=100 & 10,000 replications)

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Variance of r of two independent AR(1) processes For two independent stationary AR(1) processes X t and Y t generated by equations (2) and (3) with autocorrelation coefficients ρ x and ρ y respectively we have: and since we have which approximately is equal to:

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Variance of r of two independent AR(1) processes Hence, the variance of the sample correlation coefficient between the two independent stationary AR(1) series is approximately defined as: or equivalently as: since ρ x = φ x and ρ y = φ y for AR(1) processes. For more evidence about the proof of this variance see Bartlett (1935). McGregor (1962) also verifies the existence of this variance by determining the approximate null distribution of the sample correlation coefficient of two stationary Markov chain processes using the steepest descents method proposed by Daniels (1954 and 1956).

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Variance of r of two independent AR(1) processes The degree of accuracy of this variance depends on three things: a) on the sign of the autoregressive parameters b) on the absolute magnitude of the two autoregressive coefficients and c) on the sample size One should expect less accuracy: a) if φ x and φ y are both positive (or negative) b) if their absolute magnitude is close to one and c) if their sample size is small. Therefore, it is interesting to investigate the accuracy of this variance in the context of spurious correlations for all positive values of the autoregressive parameters and for various sample sizes.

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Simulation Results using the Var(r) of two independent AR(1) processes Series of two independent AR(1) processes X t and Y t previously defined are generated for values of the autoregressive parameter of 0.0, 0.2, 0.5, 0.8 and 0.9 and for sample sizes of 100, 500 and 1,000 observations. Based on the sample correlation coefficient of these two series, the test for zero correlation is conducted by replacing the denominator of the usual t statistic by the square root of the variance previously defined. The simulation results support no evidence of spurious correlations. Empirical levels are close to nominal levels for moderate and large sample sizes.

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Percentage of rejections of the null hypothesis of zero correlation at the 5% nominal level (|t| > 1.96) for two independent stationary AR(1) processes using the approximate variance of their sample correlation coefficient based on 10,000 replications Tφyφy φxφx ,

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Further Simulation Results using the Var(r) of two indep. AR(1) processes Frequency distribution for the corrected t statistic The frequency distribution of the corrected t statistic for testing the null hypothesis of zero correlation using the variance of two independent AR(1) processes is very close to the standard normal distribution since the standard deviation of the t statistic is one for almost all cases.

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Standard deviation of the t statistic for testing the null hypothesis of zero correlation for two independent stationary AR(1) processes using the approximate variance of their sample correlation coefficient based on 10,000 replications Tφyφy φxφx ,

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Concluding Remarks Using the approximate variance of the sample correlation coefficient of two independent stationary AR(1) processes, this study shows that the spurious behavior can be eliminated for large and moderate sample sizes, even for large values of the autoregressive parameter.

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The Balance between Size and Power in testing for linear association for two stationary AR(1) processes Story Number Two

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Fisher(1915) has revealed some of the properties of the sample correlation coefficient, r, indicating that it is a biased estimator of the population correlation coefficient, ρ, for normal populations, proving also that Ε[r] = ρ – ρ(1 – ρ 2 )/2Ν. See also Kenny and Keeping (1951) and Sawkins (1944). Clearly, the bias is not a large number, taking into account that the correlation coefficient takes values from -1 to 1. However, if one is concerned with the accuracy of the t – test for testing the null hypothesis of zero correlation, especially when the absolute value of the sample correlation coefficient is small, this bias may affect the variance and, therefore, the test.

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T t-statistics

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T mean

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Tρt-statistics

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Tρt-statistics

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Tρt-statistics

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The test has low power for small and moderate sample sizes, especially for low values of the correlation coefficient, a result that has been also indicated by Zimmerman et. al. (2003) for normal populations. However, as the sample size increases the power of the test also increases, regardless of the values of ρ and φ. In general the classical t test has larger power than the other two tests. The difference is obvious for large values of the autoregressive parameter, low values of the correlation coefficient and small sample size. For example, for T = 100, the null hypothesis is rejected 60.5% for ρ=0.2 and φ=0.9 using the classical t test, as opposed to 4.9% and 9.1% using the t' and the t'' statistic respectively. For small values of the autoregressive parameters the power of the test is very similar for all three cases, regardless of the value of the correlation coefficient. On the other hand, the test has larger power using the t'' rather than the t' statistic for all cases.

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Spurious Regressions for non-linear or time varying coefficient processes Effects of ARCH on Spurious Regressions Story Number Three

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Spurious with nonlinear series The spurious result is known as a linear behavior. Lee, Kim and Newbold (2005) investigated the possibility of spurious nonlinear relationships between two independent random walks. However, to the best of our knowledge, there is no study on the spurious regression phenomenon for two independent nonlinear processes. Nonlinear models are discussed in Granger and Terasvirta (1993). Chaos? A special case of nonlinear models, such as AR(1) with ARCH(1) effects, are discussed in Bera, Higgins and Lee (1996) and in (1992). Randomness of the autoregressive parameter apparently increases the unconditional variability for both series damping the degree of linear relationship.

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AR(1) Process

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Processes with Time Varying Parameters

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Non linear AR Processes

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AR(1) Process with Random Coefficient

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AR(1) Process with Random Coefficient II

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Unconditional Variance for AR(1) + ARCH(1) Process The unconditional variance is defined as: where Hence which is or So the unconditional variance for an AR(1) + ARCH(1) depends on?

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AR(1) + ARCH(1) Process

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Simulation Process Consider two independent series Y t and X t for t = 1, 2, …, T generated by the AR(1) + ARCH(1) specification, previously defined, under the following set up: α 0 = 1.0 α 1 = 0.0, 0.2, 0.5, 0.8 and 0.9 Φ = 0.0, 0.2, 0.5, 0.8, 0.9 and 1.0. To examine the presence of a linear relationship between these two variables the following model: is estimated using simple ordinary least squares regression for sample sizes of 50, 100 and 500 observations. The objective is to define how many times the null hypothesis of testing that β = 0 is rejected.

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Simulation Results CASE I: Linear Processes: Φ = 1.0 and α 1 = 0.0. Y t and X t are independent random walks, which corresponds to Granger and Newbold (1976) set up. The rejection proportions increases as sample size increases, for T = 500 it is almost 90%. Φ < 1.0 and α 1 = 0.0. Y t and X t are independent AR(1) processes, which corresponds to Granger et. al. (2001) set up. The rejection proportions increases only as the value of the autoregressive parameter increases and not as sample size increases. See Linear processes as a special case of non-linear processes.

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Simulation Results CASE II: Non-Linear Processes: Φ = 1.0 and for different values of α 1. As we increase the degree of non-linearity the rejection proportions decreases, i.e., for α 1 = 0.9 and for T = 500 it becomes 0.074, almost close to nominal, as apposed to in the absence of ARCH. This implies that the performance of unit root test and cointegration tests might be abruptly affected by conditional heteroscedasticity in time series variables. Φ < 1.0 and for different values of α 1, the spurious results found by Granger et. al. (2001) almost disappear. For example, for Φ = 0.9 at the 5% nominal level the proportion of rejections becomes for T = 500 as apposed to in the absence of ARCH. Spurious regression essentially looks for the presence of linear relationships between two independent series. Randomness of the autoregressive parameter apparently increases the unconditional variability of both series damping the degree of linear relationship.

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Proportions of rejections of the null hypothesis that β = 0 at the 5% nominal level based on 1,000 replications a1a1 φ Note: In each cell numbers are corresponding for sample sizes of 50, 100 and 500 observations.

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General Comments It is very difficult to analyze time series data. To avoid spurious behaviors, do not use time series data. Spurioucity does exist in Greece.

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