Econometrica: Sep 2004, Volume 72, Issue 5

Wavelet‐Based Testing for Serial Correlation of Unknown Form in Panel Models
p. 1519-1563

Yongmiao Hong, Chihwa Kao

Wavelet analysis is a new mathematical method developed as a unified field of science over the last decade or so. As a spatially adaptive analytic tool, wavelets are useful for capturing serial correlation where the spectrum has peaks or kinks, as can arise from persistent dependence, seasonality, and other kinds of periodicity. This paper proposes a new class of generally applicable wavelet‐based tests for serial correlation of unknown form in the estimated residuals of a panel regression model, where error components can be one‐way or two‐way, individual and time effects can be fixed or random, and regressors may contain lagged dependent variables or deterministic/stochastic trending variables. Our tests are applicable to unbalanced heterogenous panel data. They have a convenient null limit N(0,1) distribution. No formulation of an alternative model is required, and our tests are consistent against serial correlation of unknown form even in the presence of substantial inhomogeneity in serial correlation across individuals. This is in contrast to existing serial correlation tests for panel models, which ignore inhomogeneity in serial correlation across individuals by assuming a common alternative, and thus have no power against the alternatives where the average of serial correlations among individuals is close to zero. We propose and justify a data‐driven method to choose the smoothing parameter—the finest scale in wavelet spectral estimation, making the tests completely operational in practice. The data‐driven finest scale automatically converges to zero under the null hypothesis of no serial correlation and diverges to infinity as the sample size increases under the alternative, ensuring the consistency of our tests. Simulation shows that our tests perform well in small and finite samples relative to some existing tests.

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